This is part two of the review of my auto accident claim that I posted earlier this week. If you haven’t read that posting you will probably need to go back and do that before you read this one. http://www.schuldt-ins.com/blog/so-let-me-tell-you-about-getting-hit-by-a-truck.aspx
Anyway, at this point on the timeline I have had the accident and need to go about notifying the insurance companies. As I stated earlier, since I believe this to be the other driver's responsibility and therefore his insurance company’s responsibility, we used the crash report to find out the other driver’s insurance company and we notified them of the accident. As often happens in these cases the trucking company was apparently hoping that this whole thing would go away and was in no hurry to notify their insurance company. An insurance company has a vested interest in investigating the accident to make sure their customer has no liability or if they do have liability most companies will want to get things moving so they can control things before a lawyer gets involved. So when we notified them, the other driver’s insurance company opened a claim and gave us the claim number. If I was clearly at fault we would not have notified the other insurance company.
You may notice that I have not mentioned my insurance company yet. In an ideal world the other driver’s insurance company will step up and pay the bills and everything will work as it ought to. Often times the insurance company denies fault or moves very slowly etc. In those cases we will get our own insurance company involved. The upside of this is that we have the benefit of their experience and expertise. The downside is that we may lose our claims free discount if we have one and we are responsible for any deductibles on our policy if our insurance company pays. In rarer cases our insurance company will pay the bills and then go after the other insurance company through arbitration or by filing a lawsuit. This is called subrogation http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subrogation
I have not mentioned that the vehicle that I was driving was manufactured in 1983. While it was in good shape we knew that if we had a claim the truck would be very heavily depreciated by the insurance company so we did not have it insured for physical damage (liability only). Therefore, the only claim we could turn in to our insurance company was for our medical payments coverage. We are insured by a very good company - Pekin Insurance. When we turned in the claim I was called by an adjuster from Pekin. She asked me a number of questions and told me she would set up the claim and we would wait to see what the other insurance company did. I am sure she ordered the crash report etc. This is a situation that we see fairly often. If the other driver is found to be liable then his insurance company will determine the value of our grain truck and reimburse us for that lost value (which admittedly won’t be much). If he isn’t found liable then we take this loss on ourselves because we chose not to insure the vehicle for physical damage.
In the next posting I will talk a little about my interaction with the other insurance company's adjuster and how that process works. You can find that here - http://www.schuldt-ins.com/blog/so-let-me-tell-you-about-getting-hit-by-a-truck--part-three.aspx