This is a question we get a LOT. Customers come in after they’ve been hit in an accident. They call in their claim to their insurance company and start the process. But when the time comes to deliver the car, they are surprised to find that they have to pay a deductible. “But the accident wasn’t my fault,” they say. “I shouldn’t have to pay for any of it.” And they’re right….sort of. It’s actually a little more complicated.
If someone else causes your car accident, that other party should have to pay, usually through their mandatory liability insurance. But just because YOU feel you aren’t at fault it doesn’t mean that police or the insurance company will make that determination. Also, for you to avoid having to lay out any money, you would have to open your auto claim through the other party’s insurance carrier – this is usually only possible if a police report has been filed. Unfortunately, even in those cases where you pursue the other party’s insurance company, they can take up to 45 days or longer to determine their policy holder is at fault. IF they determine fault. Often times, they determine what’s known as ‘shared liability,’ deeming that both you and their insured contributed to the loss. In those situations, you’ll only get partial payment to cover the repairs, and you can bet it won’t be to cover your deductible. That partial payment will go right to your insurance carrier through a process called subrogation.
Now, subrogation isn’t all that bad. Subrogation is the process by which insurance companies determine liability for losses and reach settlement between the interested parties. So, if you do have to pursue your claim through your own carrier, your insurance company will use subrogation to settle the claim. This can help you avoid incurring rate increases, and sometimes even get you reimbursed for your deductible. Now, it’s important to note that each accident is different and results will vary. But it’s comforting to know that you have a process in which to participate.
309-315 Route 9
Waretown, NJ 08758
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