All states in the U.S. require you to carry car insurance on your vehicle. Usually when an accident occurs, the insurance for the at-fault driver covers a majority of the bills for bodily injury and property damage. But what happens when both parties involved in an accident carry insurance with the same car insurance company?
The following sections detail what happens when both parties in a car accident claim have the same car insurance company. Part 1 discusses who pays the deductible, Part 2 the claim process timeline, Part 3 describes how the adjusters handle your claims, and Part 4 warns you of potential issues that could arise.
Part 1 of 4: Who pays the car insurance deductible?
The main difference between drivers who have different car insurance companies and those who share companies lies in the deductible. Normally, if you have an accident, whether at-fault or not, you need to pay a deductible before your insurance company starts to pay anything.
When you and the other driver have the same insurance company, the carrier usually doesn’t require the not-at-fault driver to pay a deductible, instead opting to have the policy of the at-fault driver pay the deductible.
This usually only holds true in cases where the blame clearly lies with one driver over the other. If the adjusters must investigate to determine the at-fault driver, then both drivers usually have to pay a deductible.
Part 2 of 4: Car accident claim process timeline
Just because you and the other driver have the same insurance company does not mean the claim process goes any faster. By law, insurance companies cannot discriminate for or against a claim just because both drivers carry a policy with them. They handle all claims the same and take roughly the same amount of time to complete them.
Part 3 of 4: Different adjusters from the same car insurance company
When you file an insurance claim, or have one filed against you, the insurance company assigns an individual adjuster to handle your claim to avoid any conflicts of interest. Both insurance adjusters work separately to come to a conclusion about who caused the accident, which policy covers what, and how much each policy pays.
In addition, just because yours and the other driver’s adjuster works for the same company doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t question any offers of payment, especially if it seems too low. Proceeding as if the other driver has a policy with a different company represents the best way to make sure that you receive a fair settlement.
Part 4 of 4: What to watch out for when processing a claim
While most car insurance companies handle claims from two clients who have an insurance policy with the company as they do with any other claim, sometimes the company might participate in unethical business practices. Some of these practices include:
- Delays in handling claims: While you hope that a car insurance company processes your claim in a timely manner, especially when you rely on your vehicle for work, sometimes insurers delay processing claims for one reason or the other.
The best way to respond when this happens includes keeping a patient but persistent approach and seeking the advice of an attorney if you suspect delays on your insurer’s part for no good reason.
Denial of claims: Sometimes a claim results in a denial. The first step to take when this happens includes finding out exactly why your insurer denied the claim. Some common reasons include lapses in coverage, you reach your limitation for damages, or you do not have the type of coverage necessary to cover damages and injuries, such as only having liability as the at-fault driver in an accident. To avoid this, review your coverage often to make sure it remains up to date.
Lack of communication: Occasionally, an insurer fails to communicate properly with policy holders. While an initial lack of communication represents bad customer service on the company’s part, it doesn’t indicate wrongdoing.
Continue to attempt to communicate with the company, making sure to document every time you do successfully communicate with the company by using an email or letter as a follow-up. If the lack of communication continues, go up the chain of command of the company until someone responds, starting with the adjuster, and then their supervisor, and then up from there.
Having the same car insurance company as the driver you have an accident with does not mean you get any special privileges. Adjusters for both sides of the claim work to determine the at-fault party and take the same time as normal doing so. At most, you might not have to pay a deductible in a case where the other driver is clearly at fault.