Author Topic: Car accident - what happens next?  (Read 5559 times)

charis

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Car accident - what happens next?
« on: July 13, 2017, 07:52:12 AM »
We recently submitted our first accident claim and our insurance company (Geico) found the other driver to be at fault (back out of his parking spot into us in a parking lot).  The deductible is fairly high (1K) for the value of our 10-year VW, which is valued around 3K in good condition.  Ours is not (significant rust spots, automatic windows failing, falling ceiling material), but works for daily commuting and whatnot.  KBB value for private sale in fair condition is $2600.

The damage is superficial, but there are significant scraps and dents along the passenger side of the vehicle.  I don't know how expensive it would be to repair, but I don't know if we want to shell out 1K on it.  The damage is being inspected tomorrow.

What are my options? Do we have to get it fixed?  Will Geico pay us directly?  I doubt it will be very much in any event.  I seem to recall a post where someone bragged about pocketing the insurance money and selling their car privately. 
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 07:59:34 AM by jezebel »

dycker1978

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2017, 08:05:52 AM »
I am not sure how it works there, but here, if you are found to be not at fault the other insurance company pays your deductible.  If that is the case the $1000 would not be yours to pay.  I hope things all work out for you.

charis

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2017, 08:14:53 AM »
I am not sure how it works there, but here, if you are found to be not at fault the other insurance company pays your deductible.  If that is the case the $1000 would not be yours to pay.  I hope things all work out for you.

My understanding is that I am entitled to be reimbursed for my deductible because the other driver was at fault.  We both have the same insurance company, if that matters.  But I'm wondering if I still get "reimbursed" if we decide not to fix the damage.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2017, 08:18:20 AM »
You will get an offer to either fix the car, or the value of the car before the accident.

It's hard to tell without seeing the damage, but it's likely that they will elect to declare the car a total loss because fixing body damage could cost more than giving you a 3k check.

Either way, what you do with the check is your problem.

startingsmall

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2017, 10:34:30 AM »
You will get an offer to either fix the car, or the value of the car before the accident.

It's hard to tell without seeing the damage, but it's likely that they will elect to declare the car a total loss because fixing body damage could cost more than giving you a 3k check.

Either way, what you do with the check is your problem.

+1

If the other driver is at fault and they decide not to total it, you'll get a check for the full cost of repairs. You can use it to repair the car or pocket the cash. If they decide to total the car, I'm not quite sure how that process works.

apricity22

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2017, 10:44:10 AM »
It's hard to tell without seeing the damage, but it's likely that they will elect to declare the car a total loss because fixing body damage could cost more than giving you a 3k check.

I had an older car involved in a crash that was the other driver's fault. The repairs were going to be more than the value of my car. The insurance company was willing to make the repairs but was not willing to hand over a check in the amount of the repairs. If I simply wanted a check they would only give me the value of the car which is what I wound up doing because they came up with a very fair value for the car. In this case though, they take the car. I have no idea if this is a typical situation or not it is just something that happened to me once. There was no deductible because the other person's insurance paid everything, I did not even carry collision/comprehensive on this car. I'm guessing $3,600 is very much on the low end of the scale for an insurance settlement so they were probably just glad it was done and that their client hit such an old, low value car. It may also vary State to State.

This was my situation -
Approximate value of car pre-crash: $1,900
Cost to Repair: Approximately $5,000+
Value of car offered by Insurance company: $3,600

spaniard999

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2017, 10:45:03 AM »
This is similar to what happened to me and I have seen it before to someone else.
If you are NOT at fault, you should not be paying a dime, but the insurance will. They will probably give you a check for the amount of money they estimate the repair is, minus the 1K.
Lets say it's $1.2K, they will give you a check for $200 and wait for the others guy insurance to pay for their part, and then pay you the money.
The appraisal of the repair of your car would be done by your insurance (in my case they came to me and did it on the spot in 20 min).
Then it is up to you to spend the money and repair it or just save it.

Considering that is such an old car I wouldn't repair it but maybe ride it to the ground or sell it cheap considering you will get some money but not loosing any money.

My 2 cents

charis

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2017, 11:25:30 AM »
This is similar to what happened to me and I have seen it before to someone else.
If you are NOT at fault, you should not be paying a dime, but the insurance will. They will probably give you a check for the amount of money they estimate the repair is, minus the 1K.
Lets say it's $1.2K, they will give you a check for $200 and wait for the others guy insurance to pay for their part, and then pay you the money.
The appraisal of the repair of your car would be done by your insurance (in my case they came to me and did it on the spot in 20 min).
Then it is up to you to spend the money and repair it or just save it.

Considering that is such an old car I wouldn't repair it but maybe ride it to the ground or sell it cheap considering you will get some money but not loosing any money.

My 2 cents

This is kind of what I was thinking.  Our agent just opened a claim against the other driver's insurance policy and indicated that if that goes smoothly, we shouldn't have to pay anything upfront.  I just added the car seat to the claim because I had forgotten that we can't use them after an accident. 

Zamboni

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2017, 11:27:59 AM »
^Good thinking!

Hotstreak

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2017, 11:49:23 AM »
They will generally try to pay you the least amount of money possible.  They might offer you zero and see if you accept (happened to me - I negotiated and ended up with 10k+ including medical).  Do some reading online about "How to handle an insurance claim" and don't forget that this is an adversarial relationship at this point.  No matter how friendly they act to your face they want to pay you nothing or as little as possible! 

If there's any way to avoid it being totaled, that's a benefit to you assuming you want to keep driving it.  Even with horrid body damage, if the car remains functional, you can pocket the check, keep using the car, and eventually sell it to somebody who doesn't care about the body damage either.  I would ask the adjuster what they will give me for the totaled car and negotiate to have them give that amount, or slightly less, as settlement of the claim and NOT total the car.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 11:55:49 AM by Hotstreak »

charis

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2017, 12:00:31 PM »
They will generally try to pay you the least amount of money possible.  They might offer you zero and see if you accept (happened to me - I negotiated and ended up with 10k+ including medical).  Do some reading online about "How to handle an insurance claim" and don't forget that this is an adversarial relationship at this point.  No matter how friendly they act to your face they want to pay you nothing or as little as possible! 

If there's any way to avoid it being totaled, that's a benefit to you assuming you want to keep driving it.  Even with horrid body damage, if the car remains functional, you can pocket the check, keep using the car, and eventually sell it to somebody who doesn't care about the body damage either.  I would ask the adjuster what they will give me for the totaled car and negotiate to have them give that amount, or slightly less, as settlement of the claim and NOT total the car.

Should we expect to negotiate this at the time that the damage is inspected, or a later point?  I will definitely research this.

Hotstreak

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2017, 01:41:31 PM »
They will generally try to pay you the least amount of money possible.  They might offer you zero and see if you accept (happened to me - I negotiated and ended up with 10k+ including medical).  Do some reading online about "How to handle an insurance claim" and don't forget that this is an adversarial relationship at this point.  No matter how friendly they act to your face they want to pay you nothing or as little as possible! 

If there's any way to avoid it being totaled, that's a benefit to you assuming you want to keep driving it.  Even with horrid body damage, if the car remains functional, you can pocket the check, keep using the car, and eventually sell it to somebody who doesn't care about the body damage either.  I would ask the adjuster what they will give me for the totaled car and negotiate to have them give that amount, or slightly less, as settlement of the claim and NOT total the car.

Should we expect to negotiate this at the time that the damage is inspected, or a later point?  I will definitely research this.

You should be able to negotiate directly with the person inspecting the damage, assuming you are at a Geico approved shop and one of their people is looking at the car.  They should be able to print you a check on the spot and more or less close the claim at that point.  I would be worried that if the inspector files a report saying the car is totaled, you may not be able to get that changed.

I took my car to one of the shops lhamo is talking about.  It was the one shop in town Geico contracts with for repairs, and their repair estimate was the amount they paid me for vehicle damages.  Mine was also uninsured so my reimbursement was something like $700 in damage minus $200 deductible = $500 (rest of my settlement was medical).  I could have taken the vehicle to another shop for repairs if I wanted to, as was my right under the law, but the only cash settlement they would honor was the estimate from the guy working at their shop.  He was wearing a Geico polo FWIW, he was not an employee of the shop, I think that's why he was able to print me a check on the spot.

NextTime

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2017, 03:25:54 PM »
In my state if someone backs into you in a public parking lot, the police won't even come out and do a report. That means it's your word vs the other driver, or you have to find some way to prove the other driver is at fault. I found this out when someone backed into be at a Sam's Club parking lot.  He admitted it was his fault and gave me his insurance info.

It was an old couple with an insurance company I'd never heard of. My insurance guy said the other insurance agent told him the old man had claimed we were both at fault. I was pissed. When my agent investigated, the other agent said the old guy was out of the country.  It all turned out well though. When they old man got back from his vacation he admitted to my agent that he was at fault, so I got paid. I'm lucky he was a stand up guy because his agent was a lying sack of shit.


405programmer

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2017, 06:00:07 PM »
 
My insurance guy said the other insurance agent told him the old man had claimed we were both at fault.

I think think this is pretty common. I had a similar incident where someone backed into the side of my car in a parking lot. Later his insurance tried to claim that he wasn't at fault because it was in a parking lot with no police report. Little did the agent know that I had a signed and dated statement by the driver admitting fault. I even had his picture holding the statement! The guy was super nice about it but the insurance agent was more than unpleasant.

OP be polite but firm when working with insurance. They will look for every opportunity they can to give you the lowest payout possible. When discussing car history it's better to say too little than say too much.

MattC

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2017, 07:49:36 PM »
I agree with what's been said before.  The only thing I have to add to this is that you don't have to repair-to-like-new-condition.  Your check will be based on repair-to-like-new, but you can get a body shop to do a cheap-but-good job.  Use used parts (used+ bolt on/bolt off = cheap; new or sanding+body work+painting = expensive).  Or maybe a big expensive component just has a little dent and you can live with it and just fix the more heavily damaged components.  If you poke around on car-parts.com and ebay and get a sense of what the used parts you need cost and then go to a body shop (sometimes the insurance company recommended body shop will not play ball in this game since they know what your check amount is and they're trying to get all of that from you) and ask them for a price for a cheap-but-pretty-good job with the used parts (perhaps even with you providing the parts), that could be a "middle ground" option between 1. forking over your entire check to the body shop and 2. driving/selling a significantly damaged car.

In my one experience with Geico giving me a check they were more than reasonable with their time frame and offer amount; I've heard similar stories from others; you'll probably be fine without any shenanigans or fighting and back and forth over price. 

As someone else said, if your car is borderline, argue for them to not total your car; even offer to take a little less money so that you don't have to have that salvage title or have them take your car away.   

Look on the bright side of this.  You've won the "accident where someone else was at fault" lottery.  With a little bit of legwork, you could add $1k+ to the 'stashe when all is said and done.  The Mrs and I have won at this game twice over the years; other family members have as well; always came out $1k-2k ahead each time. Worst case, they'll total the car and pay you out at the "dealer retail" price of the car and you can buy a little bit better car private-party with the money. 

MoonLiteNite

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2017, 08:22:50 PM »
If the other guy is at fault, you file a claim with HIS ins company.
If you do yours, you are out your deductible, up until your ins company will take his to arbitration. If they say it is his fault, then you will get your deductible back. I have done this through gieco twice, once took 9 months, another time took 18 months.

Always use theirs first, unless you have the money and you just want your car fixed ASAP.

edit:
And a 3rd time i use my ins company, the guy didn't yield on a stop sign. I had police report and all and somehow they lost the arbitration and never got my refund.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 08:25:03 PM by MoonLiteNite »

NextTime

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2017, 09:41:22 PM »
Usually if they total a car , they will allow you to buy it back under a salvage title at a fraction of the cost. I'm not sure exactly how that works, but I know a couple of people who have done it.  The car was totaled since it wasn't worth much, but they were still in good working condition so they bought them back with part  of the settlement.

I've never known anyone who wasn't able to keep the cash rather than do the repair (if the car is paid off).  They are cutting you a check for the value in which your asset was devalued, so you should get fair compensation and decide what you want to do with the money. It's a different story if the car is still financed.  Even then though, they sometimes allow you to apply the check to the loan premium rather than get the repair.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2017, 09:48:06 PM »
Once your insurance company gives you the bluebook value of your vehicle (whatever it's worth at the time of the accident,) your premiums can go up. You might want to look into this. I had a car accident last year, and since the other driver  was solely at fault, I only filed with his insurance company - not mine, because I didn't want my premiums to go up.  So his insurance company gave me a payout, but it took about 3 months before they issued a check. They really dragged it out. I negotiated from their initial offer which was too low, especially since the other driver was 100% at fault. Eventually got a payout around $4,000 which was the replacement value of my vehicle.  Good luck.

charis

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2017, 02:16:26 PM »
Thank you to everyone who weighed in with their experiences.  It was very helpful!

The damage repair estimate came in at just under the value, so the car was not totaled.  So we get a check for that, less our deductible, on Monday.  Unfortunately, I did file a claim under my insurance first because I thought I was supposed to.  There is also a claim against the driver's policy.  I hope my premiums don't go up. 

Fortunately, the other driver has the same insurance company, so we should get our deductible back more quickly, as long as liability isn't an issue.  The police responded, but I don't know what kind of report was taken, we have to make a request for that.  The damage and position of the vehicles make it abundantly clear that he backed out into our moving vehicle (damage starts at center of front passenger door and continues into back passenger door). 

Hotstreak

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2017, 02:20:09 PM »
Nice!  I don't know what will happen in your case, but it's possible your premiums will be unaffected.  I just had my first insurance bill after settling my claim a few months ago, through my own insurance with Geico, and my 6-month policy is $0.38 cheaper than when I paid in January.

marielle

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2017, 02:30:03 PM »
My insurance guy said the other insurance agent told him the old man had claimed we were both at fault.

I think think this is pretty common. I had a similar incident where someone backed into the side of my car in a parking lot. Later his insurance tried to claim that he wasn't at fault because it was in a parking lot with no police report. Little did the agent know that I had a signed and dated statement by the driver admitting fault. I even had his picture holding the statement! The guy was super nice about it but the insurance agent was more than unpleasant.

OP be polite but firm when working with insurance. They will look for every opportunity they can to give you the lowest payout possible. When discussing car history it's better to say too little than say too much.

This. A guy ran a red light and hit me and somehow wasn't found 100% at fault. I was young and clueless so I said something like, "I did not see him." (there was a truck in the way). Don't say anything like that, because that means you could be partially at fault from not paying attention or something. You have to prove that you tried to prevent the accident by honking on the horn, braking, etc.

robartsd

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2017, 03:38:23 PM »
Deductible is for your collision coverage (used if you are at fault). Often if you want prompt repairs where you are not at-fault, you get them done on your collision coverage, then eventually settle up on the other driver's liability insurance - refunding you for your deductible and your insurance company for what they paid on your collision claim. This gets sreamlined most of the time when both drivers have insurance with the same company.

If the car is totalled - the insurance company buys the car from you at its value before the collision. You usually have the option to keep the car, but they might reduce the ammount they pay by the scrap value of the car.

What are you doing with colision insurance for a vehicle only worth a few times the deductible?

charis

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2017, 10:54:38 AM »
So the claim against the other driver seems to be stalled because the insurance company can't get in contact with him.  Which is ridiculous because the accident happened directly outside of his business and he is on social media several times a day promoting himself and his business.  So he is clearly avoiding them deliberately. 

The insurance company is also giving us a lot of corporate double talk and seem to be very unorganized (took several statements from us after seeming to have lost the prior statements).  I almost want to call the other driver myself and say, call your agent back, because we are going to sue you if you don't.


charis

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Re: Car accident - what happens next?
« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2017, 11:31:56 AM »
Can't do that, as much as you want to.  Just keep bugging your insurance company for the amount agreed on.  It's only been about 3 weeks.  If you're still able to drive your car, all is well, right?

All true.  I'm just irrationally annoyed because it seems like the insurance company has no incentive to resolve this claim because they can't go after another carrier to get their money back (same insurance co. for both drivers).   But there is not much we can do to speed things up, so it's best to put it out of our minds.

*Need to update my post with good news.  After two complaint calls concerning customer service (related to their handling of the claim with us, not the other driver issue), they called this afternoon to say that they would be sending out a check for the remainder of our claim.  Funny how quickly things turned around.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 03:00:30 PM by jezebel »