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Where do you report an accident when it is someone else’s fault?

The Auto Accident is not your fault —- Who do you report it to? 

Not at Fault Auto accidentOH, NO! someone just hit your car.    

This is a horrible event.  Your emotions are running wild.   Who should you call to report the claim?    

It depends on whos is at fault for the accident.

If it is clearly a not at fault accident, for example:

  • You are sitting still at a read light when someone rear ends your car 
  • The car in the other lane crosses the center line and hits you.   
  • Someone runs a stop sign or red light and hits your car.

If the accident is clearly not your fault, you would start by reporting it to the other driver’s insurance company.   This way the other driver’s auto insurance policy can handle the damage to your car, getting you into a rental car, etc.  

However, if you are hurt, or if you are going to be checked out by a doctor or hospital, then in Maryland, you need to notify your carrier.  You will need to use your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) before collecting under the other driver’s bodily injury coverage.    

If you have medical payments on your policy, then you will need to use this coverage under your policy first.  After that you can file additional damages under the bodily injury coverage of the at fault driver.  

Why shouldn’t I let my insurance company handle the collision part of the claim

If your carrier handles the physical damage coverage, you will have to have collision coverage on your policy.  They may pay the claim, but it will be less your deductible.  And then they will need to go through subrogation against the other insurance company.  Depending on the situation, subrogation can take months or years to be determined.  In the meantime, you have had to pay your deductible.   Once they receive the money from the other insurance company, they will then pay you back the money that you paid for your deductible.

If the other party’s insurance carrier accepts responsibility then they will pay the claim without you having a deductible.  And they will pay for towing and rental reimbursement if necessary, regardless of you having these coverages on your policy.    

What happens if the other party does not accept fault or responsibility? 

Sometimes, the other party can dispute  the events of the accident.  The other company may not always accept responsibility.   Or they may delay the progress of your claim for their investigation. If  you have collision coverage on your vehicle,  you can file a collision claim.   Then you will go through the process we discussed above.  

Unfortunately, if you do not have collision coverage on your policy, then your insurance company cannot pay the damage of the accident. You would have to file a claim in court against the responsible party at your own cost.    

What if the other person does not have enough limits to cover the claim?  Or they have no coverage? 

If you are notified by the other carrier, that they may not have enough limits to pay the claim, you will need to notify your insurance carrier to open an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim.   

Depending on your election of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in Maryland, if your limits are greater than theirs, you can collect the difference from their limits to yours. 

For example, let’s say the other party has $30,000 auto liability insurance, and you have $50,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.  You would be able to collect the $30,000 from them and then your policy would pay up to an additional $20,000 under your policy.      

If you have elected to have enhanced uninsured motorist coverage and they have $30,000 and you have $50,000, you would be able to collect up to an additional $50,000 under your policy. 

What if the not at fault accident was caused by a hit and run driver?

If another driver causes the accident and then flees the scene, you would report the claim to your auto insurance company.  In Maryland, you are required to have some level of uninsured motorist insurance on your car insurance policy.  The limits usually match your liability insurance limits on your auto policy.

You will be required to file a police report in order to trigger the uninsured motorist claim for a hit and run accident.  Depending on the severity of the accident, the police may take the report over the phone or may come to the scene of the accident.  Either way, make sure to get the police report number and the precinct that the police officer filing the report.  This is the process as well for those parking lost hit and runs that we see a lot of around the holidays.  Check out our blog “What to do if you are the victim of a hit and run accident in a parking lot?”

Once this is done, you can file the uninsured motorist claim.  You UMBI (Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury) would pay for any medical bills that are above your PIP (Personal Injury Protection) limits.  And the UMPD (Uninsured Motorist Property Damage) coverage would pay for any damages to your car and/or personal property that may have been damaged.  The UMPD coverage is subject to a Maryland state mandated $250 deductible that you would be responsible for paying.

Will a not at fault accident affect your auto insurance premiums?

Insurance companies now have hundreds of data points to calculate auto insurance rates.   Having a not at fault accident can affect tiering of the policy, and ultimately the price that you are charged. 

In summary, I you have a not at fault accident, and there are no injuries, and the other person has coverage and admitted fault, then do not report the claim to your insurance carrier.  Start with reporting it to their insurance company and let the other insurance carrier handle it.  

But, the moment that you find out that there are injuries, they are not accepting liability, or they do not have any or enough coverage, then notify your insurance carrier.  

If you have any questions on this blog or any other insurance topic, feel free to give Huff Insurance a call at 410-647-1111.


**Please note that insurance coverage varies by state and by insurance company.  This blog is to provide general advise only.  Please verify your actual coverage with your insurance company.


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