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How Do I go About Getting my Car Fixed after an Accident that was not my Fault?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 07/15/2012

The Insurance Company of the Driver At Fault for an Accident Should Always Pay to Get the Other Person’s Car Fixed.

Q: I was recently in an accident where another driver pulling out of a parking lot hit me while I was driving. My insurance company is not being helpful in explaining whether or not my insurance rates will go up if I report the claim and I need advice as to what I should do.

Should I:

1. Fix the repairs myself and not report it?

2. Report the car accident to the other person’s insurance?

3. Report the accident to my insurance?

A: First, let me start off with a disclaimer. We are not license insurance agents or claims adjusters, the opinion that I am about to give is based on my experience in the insurance field and should not be taken as official or legal advice.

Now, with that being said I would take option number 2.

Your insurance company is being vague about your rates going up because the customer service rep you talked to is protecting themselves from committing as to what will happen in the future with your premiums. They don’t want to get in trouble for telling you something wrong and have a lawsuit result from bad information given. Trust me; I answered this question at least once a day like this when I was a customer service rep.

If the accident was really not your fault the other person’s insurance company has the legal obligation to pay for the damages to your vehicle. By going directly through the other company you will not have to pay your deductible to get your vehicle fixed, but you will be at the mercy of the other insurance company as to when they decide who is at fault for the accident.

Yes, your insurance company will eventually find out about the accident after they pull your CLUE report and find it on there. But, it should be listed as a “not at-fault accident” and should not be charged against you, regardless of how much the claim ends up being. If your insurance company does raise your rates after an accident that is not your fault and they didn’t pay anything for you to get your car fixed, you seriously need to be looking for a new insurance company.

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Michele Wilmonen

Michele's first introduction to insurance was working for a major insurance company as a file clerk and a mailroom supervisor in a regional office. She learned insurance directly from underwriters and claims adjusters from questions and also watching them do their job. Since then, she's earned a number of insurance certifications from the Insurance Institute of America and also a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho. She blogs at Car Insurance Guidebook.

Reviews (2)

  • Shiva


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    Thank you very much for your prompt response and helpful information.

    You mentioned that although my insurance will find out about the claim from the CLUE report if I report the claim to the other driver’s insurance, they should not increase my rate as it is a not at-fault accident.
    When I talked to their staff, they directly told me that except some cases where the claim is below $500 my rate will increase. And this is Progressive, one of the best insurance companies in the nation.

    Does that mean my rate will increase IF I report the accident to them (my insurance)? But if I report to the other driver’s insurance, because my insurance hasn’t done anything to collect the repair expenses, they won’t or at least shouldn’t increase my rate?

    Generally, is it legal for insurance companies to increase our rate for not-at-fault accidents? I am living in Georgia.

    Is there any place (except surcharge schedule that is not easy to find and understand) that policies of different insurance companies regarding percentage increase after 1st, 2nd, and not-at-fault accidents are clearly explained?

    Again thanks a lot and appreciate your information.


    • Michele Wilmonen


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      From what you have explained in your situation, your insurance shouldn’t go up for a not-at-fault accident. However, with that being said, each insurance company is different and how they rate policies change constantly.

      Your insurance company will learn about your accident regardless if you report it to them or the other company. If you report it to the other company and your insurance company doesn’t have to pay out anything on the claim, the chances of you seeing an increase in your insurance premium decreases.

      If you report the claim to your insurance company, as long as you have the coverage they will pay for the repairs (minus your deductible) and then go after the other insurance company to get their money and your deductible back. But, if they are not able to recover their money, you could possibly see an increase in your insurance premium (this may be what the customer service rep was talking about).

      I don’t know of any laws that prohibit an insurance company from increasing your rates after the first accident. Then again, there are 50 states and as much as I hate to admit it I don’t know everthing.

      There is also nothing that I know of that provides rate increases you may be able to expect after reporting a claim. Each insurance company prices differently and underwrites their policies differently, which is why we emphasize the need to get quotes from different companies.

      I know this doesn’t fully provide the answer that you are looking for, but insurance is such a complicated business that no one is going to be able to give you a solid answer. The only thing that you can really do is make the best decision for where you are right now and then wait and see if the claim affects your rates. If it does, start shopping around for better insurnace.



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