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Insurance Claim advice, please!

DebBrown

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Wednesday night a car crashed into our house... really! I have a police report with the person's auto insurance info. Should I contact the insurance company directly? I can't see any advantage in bringing our home owner's insurance into it.

The damage was minimal. Some cosmetic damaging to the siding and she took out our landscaping.

Deb
 

Ken555

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I'd definitely call my agent first, and then likely my carrier. Only after speaking with them would I call the other party's insurance directly.
 

Passepartout

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I agree with Ken. Your HO insurance will make sure you are made whole, and will have far more clout with the crasher's car insurance.

Jim
 

ronparise

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Im no expert here, but I would think your policy would take care of you and then go after the other guy for compensation
 

Luanne

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I agree with everyone else. Call your agent. They'll take care of everything for you.
 

DebBrown

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I didn't want it to count as a claim on our Home Owner's policy and drive up our rates. Maybe I'll talk to our agent off the record first.

Deb
 

Passepartout

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It won't count as a claim against your policy. It will count against the driver who hit your house and wrecked your landscaping. The job of your carrier is to see that the property they cover is returned to the condition they are insuring- not that you accept some reduced amount from the other party's car insurance who will say, "Oh that's not bad, here's a check for some plants you can put in at your convenience, and a Scotch pad to wipe down your siding." Your carrier will make sure there are no underlying damages under the siding and that the ruts in the grass are filled and maybe the whole yard re-sodded so it will match and that your sprinklers aren't damaged.

Maybe there is little or no damage. Maybe there is significant damage that won't be apparent til Summer. It's your adjuster's job to know the difference- at the expense of the guy who did the damage.

Jim
 

ronparise

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I didn't want it to count as a claim on our Home Owner's policy and drive up our rates. Maybe I'll talk to our agent off the record first.

Deb
I agree this wont go to court but it may be considered a claim on your policy, and depending on your carrier and your record (do you have lots of claims or none) you may not be hurt or your may be.

If you just want this to go away, make your deal with the driver directly...he probably doesnt want a claim on his policy either
 

DebBrown

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If you just want this to go away, make your deal with the driver directly...he probably doesnt want a claim on his policy either
Well, the driver already wrecked her new car so I don't think she'll get out of her claim.

Thanks, everyone, for the advice!

Deb
 

JeffW

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Semi-related, but once I was in an auto accident, and I dealt just with the driver's insurance company. Got full repairs on my car, plus a rental. No issues at all.

I'd assume you could deal with the other insurance company, and if you run into issues, then contact yours.

Jeff
 

isisdave

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Also, there is no such thing as an "off the record" conversation with your agent, unless maybe it's your sister. The agent has a fiduciary duty to his employer to report an accident that the company insures, whether or not you file a claim.

What if you had a fender-bender that the other party agreed was her fault, so the two of you decide not to report it. A month later she has a seizure, and now is claiming against you. Granted, your house probably didn't leap out into the road, but you get the idea. But if the company found out that the agent knew about it and didn't report it, he's history.

So make sure it's really hypothetical, or ask someone else's agent.
 

jlr10

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Let your agent know, but contact the other party's insurance carrier. Your insurance company should 'encourage' the other party's carrier to accept blaime and take over the handling of the claim.

One thing to remember, if this is handled under your insurance, you will have to pay the deductible and then wait for reimbursement through the subrogation department. If the damage is as minimal as you state they will not likely be as responsive if the repairs fall under the deductible, and there may be maximum dollar amounts under your policy for landscaping. If the responsibile party's carrier handles the claim they should pick up all costs from the first dollar of expenses. Be sure to push for reimbursement of all costs. So, if you have to take time off work to have workmen come out you may claim lost wages, the cost of mature landscapping etc., as you should have no out of pocket expenses.
 

MuranoJo

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It would be risky to handle this offline with the insurance company of the person who ran into your house.

First, you have a police report with the driver's information, so you have proof of 3rd-party fault (i.e., shouldn't be a hit against your insurance record, and your insurance company can initiate subrogation). Second, you may need the legal back-up of your insurance company in case the 3P tries to weasel out of it. Finally, you should get an unbiased view of the 'real' damages, not just cosmetic.
 

vacationhopeful

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Also, there is no such thing as an "off the record" conversation with your agent, unless maybe it's your sister.
This is correct. And I have been hit with "incidents" on policies where I did not file a claim. Insurance agents REPRESENT their insurance companies and DO NOT have ANY interest other than to MINAMIZE their payout and raise their billables.

I have collected from other's auto insurance without ANY conversation to my auto insurance companies. MUST have that police report. And it becomes so much easier when the other party is issued a police ticket (does NOT have to be convicted). I can be a real friendly "pest" saying to the cop onsite at the accident, "they are getting a ticket, right". And I don't have any interest in being the other driver's friend ... less said to them, the better.
 

klpca

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We've tried dealing with the other guys insurance company once and directly with the "other guy" another time and both times we had to involve our insurer in the end. You pay your premiums for a reason, and having them deal with the other guy is one of them.

In the incident where we dealt with the other guy directly, it was his teenage daughter who backed into my husbands car in a parking lot. They asked to pay our damages without involving their insurance company so we agreed. After he saw the estimate, he said that he didn't have that kind of money, and knew where my husband worked and had the nerve to say: "You work at [big corporation] and I'm sure you make more money than me so why don't you pay for this yourself." needless to say that was the end of the discussion. Called our agent, told them the whole story and dealt with out own insurance company from here. It did not affect our premiums.
 

JeffW

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For my auto accident, not only did a police officer come, but the other driver's car was towed. The woman only had a learner's permit, and wasn't legally supposed to be driving without another licensed driver with her. So when it came time to dealing with her (actually her boyfriend's) insurance agent, there really wasn't much for them to deny (all I was asking for was repair at the deaer's body shop and a rental car).

I agree that dealing with the offender directly is risky. But I don't think it should be feared to deal with their insurance company, especially if a police officer was involved, possibly including them receiving a ticket.

Jeff
 

natasha5687

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It won't count as a claim against your policy. It will count against the driver who hit your house and wrecked your landscaping. The job of your carrier is to see that the property they cover is returned to the condition they are insuring- not that you accept some reduced amount from the other party's car insurance who will say, "Oh that's not bad, here's a check for some plants you can put in at your convenience, and a Scotch pad to wipe down your siding." Your carrier will make sure there are no underlying damages under the siding and that the ruts in the grass are filled and maybe the whole yard re-sodded so it will match and that your sprinklers aren't damaged.

Maybe there is little or no damage. Maybe there is significant damage that won't be apparent til Summer. It's your adjuster's job to know the difference- at the expense of the guy who did the damage.

Jim
I would have to disagree about this not counting against the OP's claims history. I am a Realtor and often times have clients upset about their home owners insurance premiums. Many of your large insurers utilize the CLUE report to determine risk. A claim that is no fault of your own can and in many instances will be counted against you.

Your insurance company will do all of the above stated things but you could easily get a public adjuster to represent your interest in the event the auto insurer tries to be a cheapskate.
 
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jlr10

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Insurance agents REPRESENT their insurance companies and DO NOT have ANY interest other than to MINAMIZE their payout and raise their billables.
I respectfully disagree with this statement. Insurance agents represent the insurance company but also represent their insured. As an agent I have many times gone to bat for my client if the insurance company is not acting fairly with one of my insureds and living up to the policy provisions, even going far enough to have had a part in getting people fired for their lack of service to my insureds when they fail to do so. I have fought with adjusters who deny claims because they are not reading the policy correctly, and had denials overturned. But when a a claim is denied based on the actual policy wording I will explain to my client why the claim was denied, and show there where it was denied in the policy. I don't do it to minimize the insurance companies payout nor do I do it to raise their liabilities. I do it because that is what my insured's paid for when they bought the policy in the first place, and because it is the right, and ethical, thing to do. Which is why I have had clients leave for carriers who charge less premium, but have them come back for service.

Have I had some "hypothetical" discussions with some of my insured's where I would think a situation would be best handled outside of insurance? Yes I have, but it is a very fine line. If we are contacted about a claim we have to report it. Failure to do so goes against the insured's policy provision of timely reporting and could result in the claim being denied if the claim is later formally presented.

I have personally seen agents who did not report claims when they were presented with an occurrence that later became an ugly claim. This resulted in claims that were denied for lack of timely reporting. The agents were later sued by their insured and then had to pay the claim from their own errors and omissions policy, even thought the insured initially told them to not report the claim. Insurance companies will also sometime pay the claim that turned ugly and then turn around and sue the agent based on the claim not be handled in a way that would have prevened the claim becoming larger than it would have if it had been handled by the insurance carrier from the beginning.

Does the industry have some bad agents who don't act ethically? Yes, as do all industires. But there are many of us out there who work long hours, without overtime (and who are salaried not commissioned) to be sure our clients are treated fairly. Sometimes that includes doing what protects the insured's best interest, even though it may not seem like it at the time.
 

gpurtz

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Deb,
There's no real harm in dealing directly with the crasher's insurance company, unless you settle your claim without full knowledge of the extent of the damage to your property. You'll be dealing with a claim representative of the crasher's company. You should get your own written appraisals to repair the damage that's been done. Make sure you use reputable contractors. Consider getting more than one appraisal if the damage turns out to be more extensive than you thought originally. You should present the appraisals to the crasher's company. Depending on the amount of money involved the crasher's company may want do their own appraisal. That's OK, but bear in mind that just because the crasher's company can get the repairs made for less money than your contractors, doesn't mean you have to accept the insurance company's lower amount. If you become frustrated by the way the crasher's company is handling your claim, you then might want your homeowner's insurance company to handle the matter for you. It's probably a good idea to inform your insurance agent about the incident. I don't believe there will be a "blemish" on your insurance record unless your company pays you money for your loss. Even then there should not be a blemish, but insurance companies hate to pay claims, regardless of the circumstances. Good Luck! Gary
 

littlestar

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Deb,

I would contact the claimant company, but I would also let your insurance company know about the incident and that you are going to try to deal directly with the claimant company to take care of your damages.
 

JeffW

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Deb,

I would contact the claimant company, but I would also let your insurance company know about the incident and that you are going to try to deal directly with the claimant company to take care of your damages.
I think the main reason not to contact your company is the possible 'ding' againt your claim history. If you contact them, is it worse if they handle the claim (repairs) when they should be able to chargeback everything to the other company?

I'd think when you make a claim, and there's no other party to go after (say, a water leak in your house), that's when it likely affects you the most.

Jeff
 

DebBrown

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I thought I'd report my success.

I did talk to my home owner's insurance agent who is a friend of the family. She said that they could get involved if I ran into difficulty but she advised me to work directly with the driver's auto insurance company.

I called with the info on the police report and filed a claim. A rep came out and took pictures. They asked me to get two estimates for both the house and landscaping damage. I finally got it together and sent it in last Friday. Today I got a check in the mail covering the cost of the two lower bids.

All went smoothly. I think I would be more wary if we had major damage but ours was fairly minimal.

Deb
 
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