What should you do if you’re in an auto accident and the other party doesn’t have insurance?
Shame on you other party!
Unfortunately, this has happens all the time. I’d like to help you to avoid learning some hard lessons. So here are the steps to take right away.
First Things First
Take care of injuries immediately. This should go without saying, but medical comes first. If someone needs to go to the hospital that takes priority. Period.
At the Scene
So let’s assume there are no injuries and you’ve safely pulled into a parking lot. The other guy is digging through his glove box, “I swear it’s in here somewhere”. Sure it is buddy.
After a few minutes of frantic digging and a few excuses, he can’t provide you with insurance information. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but that’s how you need to treat the situation.
Don’t escalate the situation. Don’t worry about whose fault the accident is. Accusations will only make a bad situation worse. Just politely let the other party know that you’d like to exchange information and let the insurance companies sort it out.
Depending on the state you’re in, you may want to call the police. The reality is they may not even show up. If they’re busy, then your car accident is going to be a low priority. But call anyway. Police can take statements and record information to help you avoid any issues down the line.
By the way, the police don’t decide who’s at fault. Unless they saw the accident, they’re just taking statements and writing down the facts.
Take photos. Time to use that cell phone for something other than selfies and pictures of brunch. Snap photos of the damage to your vehicle and the other party’s vehicle. Get copies of driver’s licenses, license plates, the accident scene, damages, road conditions, etc.. This may be helpful information to a claims adjuster later on.
Get witness information. Your passenger is a lousy witness. First of all, they were scrolling through Instagram, not paying attention. Second, they’re totally biased. You need a real witness. If the accident was outside of a coffee shop, stop in and see if anyone saw anything. You might get lucky and get a good credible witness.
Once You Get Home
You’re going to want to write your statement down. You could even just record yourself at the scene. You may have to repeat yourself several times and you want your story to be consistent. Consistency makes your version more credible.
Call your insurance agent. Remember all that money you pay every month? Time to shine insurance agency!
A good agent or broker will work for you and will be able to offer the best advice. They’ll tell you how your insurance will respond and what the best course of action is.
What to Expect Later
Once you’ve turned the claim into your insurance carrier, they’ll do the heavy lifting. At this point it will pretty much look like any other accident. This means that you’ll be responsible for your deductible.
Your insurance carrier may try to subrogate against the other party though. That means they’ll try to get your money back from the guy that hit you. Really though, if the other guy doesn’t have insurance, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
The good news is that auto insurance does have some coverage built in just for this situation. Click the link for more on that.
Lastly… don’t shoot the messenger. Your premiums may increase at renewal.
I know what you’re thinking, “but it wasn’t my fault”. Yes, true, but the insurance company paid the claim. And depending on the company they may or may not surcharge for a not-at-fault-accident.
Hopefully this information is totally useless to you because you’re never involved in an auto accident. Too bad that’s not the case for everyone.
There may be a point where the other guy says, “Don’t call the cops, I’ll just pay you cash”.
That’s great, just keep in mind what they’re really saying is “I didn’t pay my insurance premium, but I’ll pay you. Trust me”.