What to Understand Before Dealing with Third-Party Insurance

Third-party insurance claims are the most common insurance claims filed in the United States. These claims are filed against another driver’s insurance policy in order to seek damages after an accident. Here, auto accident attorney Douglas T. Sachse, details what you should know before filing a claim with a third-party insurance company.

Know That You are Not Legally Obligated to Speak to Third-Party Insurance Companies

After an accident, it is important to speak to your own insurance company so that they can understand the nature of the accident that occurred. Be sure to provide your insurance company with a thorough and detailed explanation of what happened, when the accident occurred, the damages that were sustained and any other information they ask for.

With that being said, you are under no legal obligation to speak to a third-party insurance company. If you have been in an accident, regardless of who was at fault, you may choose to speak to a third-party insurance company at your discretion. If the other driver was clearly at fault, it may be appropriate to speak to their insurance company; otherwise, refrain from speaking to them directly. If a third-party insurance company representative contacts you, and you are not comfortable speaking with them, inform them that your insurance company adjuster, or your qualified auto accident attorney, will communicate with them on your behalf—this ensures that the insurance company only receives the information they require, and is not able to manipulate any statements you provide them.

Think Carefully About Your Statement Before Speaking to a Third-Party Insurance Company

If you do choose to speak to a third-party insurance company, think carefully about your statement before contacting them. The goal of a third-party insurance company is to provide you as little compensation as possible, so they will attempt to use the evidence you provide to show that their insured was not at fault, or that the damages you sustained were minor or even nonexistent. As such, only provide them with the facts of the case, such as who was involved, the time of day, weather conditions and whether law enforcement and emergency services were called. Answer the questions they ask with the minimum amount of information possible; if they ask a question you do not feel comfortable answering, decline to answer, or inform them that your insurance company will provide them the information they require.

Obtain a Repair Estimate for the Damages You Sustained

A third-party insurance adjuster will wish to have your vehicle inspected to determine the extent of the damage. While the third-party insurance company will likely recommend their own inspection station, you are not required to use it. You may have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic of your choosing; however, the insurance company may refuse to cover the costs associated with the inspection if it is by an unaffiliated inspector.

Once the car has been inspected, the inspector should draft a repair estimate, or make a determination that the car has been “totaled” if the damage is too severe. You are not required to send the third-party insurance company repair estimates from multiple inspectors; however, a third-party insurance company may agree to the estimate sooner if you provide multiple, detailed settlements that arrive at similar estimates.

Seek Legal Counsel if the Third-Party Insurance Company Disputes Your Repair Estimate

Sometimes, the third-party insurance company refuses to accept the repair estimates you provide, especially if the damage to your vehicle is extensive. In this instance, they may dispute the estimate, and provide a counter-offer. Instead of attempting to negotiate with a third-party insurance company—often a tedious and frustrating process—enlist the services of an experienced auto accident attorney. The Law Offices of Douglas T. Sachse wants to help you receive the compensation you deserve when you have been the victim in an auto accident. If you or a loved one require such assistance, we urge you to contact us today!


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