Automobile Insurance

Information on Third-Party Claims

Filing a claim with your own auto insurance company is called a first-party claim. When you’re in an accident and think it was another driver’s fault, you may file a claim with their insurance company. This is called a third-party claim.

Potential Problems with Filing a Third-Party Claim

Filing a third-party claim against another driver can be harder for several reasons:

  1. The other driver may not have insurance, or enough insurance, to pay for your damages.
  2. The other driver’s insurance company is on their driver’s side.
  3. The other driver’s company must agree it was their driver’s fault.
  4. The other driver may not cooperate with their insurance company and, as a result, their company may not pay for your damages.

There are still things you can do.

Property Damage

If you have collision coverage on your own policy:

Let your insurance company deal with the other driver. Your company can pay the cost of your damages and try to collect from the other driver’s insurance. You will probably have to pay a deductible, although it may be recovered and refunded later.

If you have UM/UIM coverage and the other driver is uninsured or they don't have enough insurance to cover all of your damage:

File a claim under your own policy’s UM/UIM property damage coverage.

If the other driver has insurance, but you don't have collision coverage on your policy:

  • You have to deal directly with the other driver’s insurance company. Your insurance company may help, but they won’t pay for your damage.
  • Gather as much information as possible about the accident and your damages. Photos, witness contact information, the police report, damage estimate, and repair shop contacts can all be helpful.

Injuries

If the other driver has insurance:

  • If you are hurt and the other insurance company agrees to pay some, or all, of your claim, read anything you are given to sign, including checks, carefully.
  • The other insurance company will make you sign a release waiver for all claims. Once you sign that release, you are not going to get more money for your injury. Be careful and take your time before you sign anything.

If the other driver doesn't have insurance or enough insurance to cover your damages:

File a claim under your own policy’s UM/UIM coverage.

You may want to talk to an attorney who handles auto accident cases. Also, if your policy has Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments coverage, you may file a claim under your own policy to get some of the medical bills paid. PIP also covers other things like 80% of lost wages.

More Terms to Know

Claim – a request made to an insurance company to pay for damage or injury.

Claims adjuster – reviews the loss to figure out what is covered under the policy, if liability exists, and how much is owed.

Coverage – the damage or injuries an insurance company agrees to pay for under the policy.

Deductible – the amount you owe in a loss before the company pays its part.

First-party claim – a claim filed by you against your own insurance policy.

Liability – when you are responsible for other people’s injuries or damage to their property.

Policy – a contract between you and the insurance company. The policy tells you what’s covered and what the insurance company is required to pay.

Policy period – the period of time your policy provides coverage.

Premium – the amount you pay an insurance company for your policy.

Third-party claim – a claim you file against another person’s insurance policy or a claim someone files against your policy.