Topic: any insurance agents? friend rear ended & damages above coverage limits  (Read 427 times)

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Offline breakdirt916

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anyone here work insurance?

friend got rear ended on the 405 (not at fault), exchanged information, the other guy has insurance but a limited discussion with the other insurance company started with "this insurance has coverage limits"

basically if there is a certain structural part that needs to get replaced, the damages could exceed the what the other guy's insurance covers

if so - who pays for the car to get fixed?

does a lawyer get involved, take the guy to court, and start garnishing his wages?

the dude has wawanesa insurance and after he rear ended my friend, exchanged information, he said "I am in a rush I have to go" but she made him wait until the cops came. sketchy dude in an infinity with barely enough insurance coverage for it.
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Offline luciano136

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Worst case, her own insurance should cover the difference through the "uninsured motorist" coverage; that's the first place I would call.

Offline Throttle Chopper

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Her insurance should cover where the at-fault's falls short.  The minimum for property damage liability is $5,000 which means the at-fault is an idiot for thinking this was adequate.  The real question: Does your friend have uninsured or underinsured coverage for property damage (UMPD)?  This coverage is optional and she should check her declaration page stat to decide what the next step is.

The only way to garnish wages is to take the individual to court, and even if you do get a court order it'll be tough to enforce or make the individual pay a garnishment especially from a civil matter.  Your friend should consult a laywer if Wawanesa isn't playing nice.
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Offline Gone in 60

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I used to be an adjuster, and get asked questions about handling accidents frequently. Here's my advice, take it however you will:

1. What YOUR insurance company doesn't know won't hurt YOU. If your friend got rear-ended by another car, and there is no liability question, which there usually isn't in a rear-ender, the call goes to the insurance company of the car that caused the accident. Your insurance company usually doesn't need to get involved unless there is a question of liability ("You hit your brakes right in front of me, it's not my fault that I hit you") The insurance company of the person who caused the accident will typically claim responsibility without question, unless their insured driver disputes liability. Many people believe that even if the other guy caused the accident, they need to call their own insurance first. Basically all this does is send up a red flag with your own insurance company that you had an accident. My wife has been in two minor rear-enders in her gawdawful commute, both minor, and in both cases, our own insurance company was not involved. Call the other guy's insurance first, avoid your own insurance company unless necessary.

2. Re policy limits - California state property damage minimum limits may be enough to repair the car unless it is substantially damaged. If the damage exceeds this guy's policy, options would be to pursue the person individually, which may be a matter of demanding a personal settlement or taking to court, or refer the difference to your friend's insurance. "structural" can mean straightening a rear subframe rail, the most common repair in a rear-ender, or replacing if it is collapsed, which, in some cars, will push close to $5k.

4. Statement - expect that the insurance company will call to get a statement of what happened. In a straight rear-ender, this is usually very simple, just to confirm that both people describe the accident similarly.

4. Lawyers - Unless things go sideways during the negotiation of the vehicle damage, or if your friend is badly injured, all a lawyer will do is slow the entire process down, send your friend to a doctor who will slow the process further, then take 33% of any settlement once the process is complete. Insurance companies handling unrepresented claimants are usually eager to help settle claims quickly and efficiently to avoid the amount of time the claimant has to see accidentlawyer.com ads and get convinced that they will be helpless until they get a lawyer. Once a claimant gets a lawyer, that claim gets pushed to the back of the adjusters file load while he is busy settling with unrepresented claimants. Whenever I got a notice that the claimant on a file I was handling got a lawyer, I basically worked on that file only when I got a call from a paralegal at the lawyers office. I just had too much work to do.

5. Body shop repairs - the insurance company will offer a "preferred shop, which guarantees their work". This will be a chain body shop, like iFix or similar, which has negotiated a deal with that insurance company to repair cars without the adjuster having to come out and write an estimate on it. YOU choose where your car gets fixed. If you have a good shop you work with, you have every right to use it. You do not have to go to a shop that the insurance company recommends. If it's a nice car, I would go somewhere nice to fix it.

5. Rental car - Once the insurance company for the person who caused the accident has been contacted, and a claim has been filed, and they accept liability, your friend has the right to a rental car while their car is being repaired. This should be direct billed to the insurance company, not paid by your friend then reimbursed.

6. Settlement - If the damage is significant, and your friend needs medical attention, the other guy's insurance should pay for treatment. After which, if the adjuster does not offer a cash settlement for pain and suffering, bring it up. Don't expect the world, unless the injuries are bad. Negotiate a bit. The adjuster will have a range to work with approved by their manager. If no injury, and the damage is significant, not just a tweaked bumper, it doesn't hurt to ask for something for the inconvenience. "here's a few hundred bucks, go have a nice dinner somewhere".
« Last Edit: 07/03/18 03:49PM by Gone in 60 »
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Offline Gone in 60

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As others have mentioned, if your friend has Uninsured/Under Insured coverage on their policy, this should be able to cover repair costs over the limit of the other guys policy if that limit is small. In my experience, Id wait on calling to make that call until its confirmed that repair costs will exceed policy limits.

In many cases under insured claims on ones own policy dont have a deductible as you are basically a claimant against your own carrier.

And, hope your friend is ok and this goes smoothly!

PS - to any personal injury lawyers on the forum, no offense, just speaking through the lens of an adjuster.
« Last Edit: 07/03/18 05:48PM by Gone in 60 »
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Offline breakdirt916

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@gone in 60 and others that responded - thanks for the answers!

the adjuster perspective is what I was hoping to hear - seems that (and understandably for liability reasons) the insurance agents know very little about what happens on the claims side

it looks like it will go relatively smoothly - her own insurance is paying to get it all fixed and will pursue the offending insurance...the body shop that she picked is also on a text basis with her dad, so she can trust that it's getting repaired properly, with all parts in stock. The check will likely get cut today or early this week so that the repairs can commence

makes me think a little bit about my own car - having a 2001 F150 isn't so bad LOL...parts are relatively easy to get, it's not worth so much that would exceed another driver's liability coverage...and makes me sure I want to keep 50-100,0000 property damage for my own liability coverages
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