Only so many auto insurance companies exist for you to choose from when shopping for coverage. It’s not a huge coincidence, therefore, when one driver gets into an accident with another driver who shares the same insurance company. Getting into a car crash where both parties have the same insurer can come with unique challenges that could potentially extend the timeline of your insurance claim. If you’ve gotten into an accident with a same-insurance-company driver in California, talk with one of our attorneys. In the meantime, take these steps.
Step 1: Gather Information
Just because you and the other driver share insurance companies does not make it any less important to collect information about the crash. Write down the name of the insurance policy number, the driver’s contact information, descriptions of both vehicles, and the other driver’s license plate number. Do not admit fault, and don’t worry if the other driver won’t admit fault. The police and the insurance company will investigate the crash and assign fault on their own.
Step 2: Contact the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Agent
Do not file your claim through your own insurance agent if you were not at fault for the accident. Even if you both have the same insurance company, you will each have separate claims adjusters responsible for handling the crash. Since California is a fault insurance state, those involved in the accident will need to go through the at-fault party’s insurance company to file a claim. File your claim through the at-fault driver’s agent and policy number, not through your own.
Next, call your insurance agent and report the accident on your end. Don’t assume you and the other driver’s claims analyst will communicate with each other or share information. Unless you both expressly give permission for the insurance company to do this, the analysts will not exchange crash information. This part of the insurance claims process will look much the same whether you and the other driver share an insurance company or not. Complete the filing process through the at-fault driver’s agent and your own as you normally would.
Step 3: Find Out About Your Deductible
One of the only ways in which an insurance claim with the same company might differ from a typical car accident case is in the deductible. In most cases, an insurance company will charge the claimant a deductible, or an upfront fee for repairs to the vehicle. For example, if you have a $500 deductible, you will need to pay this before the insurance company will sign off on a $3,000 vehicle repair. The insurance company would cover the other $2,500. If you weren’t at fault for the crash, the insurer will generally reimburse you for the out-of-pocket deductible amount.
In cases where both drivers use the same insurance company, you might not need to pay a deductible. The company will generally not require a driver who was not at fault to pay for vehicle repairs out-of-pocket. Instead, the at-fault driver will need to pay this cost out of his or her pocket. Other than this potential difference, however, claims involving two drivers with the same insurer will not look any different than other types of claims. The insurance company must still handle the claim as it would if the other party had a different insurer.
Call an Experienced Accident Attorney in Los Angeles
Every car accident claim can benefit from a lawyer’s input. Cases with unique factors such as two drivers with the same insurance company can get even more complex than your average claim. When in doubt, contact a lawyer and ask for advice. A car accident lawyer in Los Angeles can help you with every step of your insurance claim, including unique cases in which you and the other driver have coverage under the same company. Working with an attorney can make the claims and compensation processes easier on car accident victims.