You are driving down the road when another driver runs a stop sign, hitting into the side of your vehicle. You check to see if the people in the other car okay, then call the police. While exchanging information with the other driver, you find out that they have the same car insurance carrier as you do, leading you to wonder: How do I file a claim if the other driver has the same insurer? Is the process any different than normal? If so, how?
Read below to find out the answers to these questions and advice on how to make sure you get fairly compensated.
How Insurance Companies Handle Accidents When Both Drivers are Customers
In an ideal situation, an insurance company would handle accidents between two of its’ customers the same way they should handle any other car accident: impartially and responsibly. However, this is not a perfect world, and insurance companies have been caught failing to provide adequate compensation to customers in the sake of their bottom line profit.
When a car accident occurs and both drivers have the same insurer, the insurance company must handle it carefully in order to avoid running into a “conflict of interest.” To do so, most insurance companies will issue each driver their own adjustor. The idea is that both adjustors will evaluate the claim and liability of the accident independently, and present their findings to each other once they have determined fault.
If both adjustors agree that one of the drivers is at fault, then the adjustor overseeing the at-fault driver will process the claim further and provide compensation to the other driver based on their insurance policy.
However, if there is a complication about liability, and both adjustors do not agree about who was at fault, then they will act as if they work for two separate companies to handle the claim. Two adjustors from the same company will never take legal action to determine fault, but rather come to an agreement amongst themselves.
Oftentimes insurance companies waive a customer’s deductible if they are involved in an accident with another customer in order to avoid the hassle of dealing with liability disagreements and a customer accusing them of acting in “bad faith” by making a decision that is not in either driver’s best interests.
When insurance company only issues one adjustor to handle both drivers’ claims, there is a high risk of a conflict of interest. If this happens to you, contact a car accident attorney immediately to make sure you receive fair compensation.
Advantages of Having the Same Insurance
As unfortunate as getting into an accident is in the first place, there are a few advantages when the other driver has the same insurer as you.
For one, speaking to a representative at your own insurance company is always much easier and less of a hassle than contacting an adjustor from another insurer. Since you are a paying customer, adjustors will tend to provide quicker service than if you had a different insurance company.
Secondly, insurance companies have a monetary motivation to satisfy your claim and provide reasonable compensation to you if you are a customer. In most cases, insurers would end up losing more money in the long run if you stopped using them as your car insurance provider because you were unhappy with the coverage than if they just paid out a claim outright. So rather than risk losing you (the paying customer), they it is often in their best interests to make you happy by paying a claim.
Lastly, when two drivers with the same insurer get into an accident, the claim may be processed quicker than if the accident involved two different insurance companies. Two adjustors who work for the same insurer, and work in the same office, can resolve matters simply by walking to the other adjustor’s desk.
Disadvantages of Having the Same Insurer
Getting involved in a car accident with a driver who has the same insurance company can also have its own risks. For instance, an insurer may try to take advantage of the opportunity and protect their bottom line by unreasonably delaying or denying your claim, or even failing to return your phone calls. Or, two adjustors may come to an unfair agreement behind closed doors that allows the company to get out of paying a full claim that they would be forced to otherwise.
Also, insurance policies can be confusing, and insurance companies may try to use that to their advantage by convincing an uncertain customer about a loophole that frees them from the responsibility to provide compensation.
When to Call an Attorney
If your car accident caused only minor property damage and/or injury, you will likely be able to proceed through the usual process—filing a claim with the insurer and letting them appoint the adjustors. However, if you received serious damage or personal injury, you should contact a car accident attorney to hold your insurance company accountable for fair and reasonable compensation, as well as answer any questions you may have.