If another driver caused the accident, you have a couple of different options to recoup your repair costs.
- You can claim under your own collision coverage, if you carry it. Your company will pay your claim, then deal with the other insurance company. Be sure to ask if your premium will be affected if you claim on your own policy. With this option, you may have to pay your deductible up front, but you can try to recover it from the other insurance company, or the other driver.
When you claim on your own policy, the appraisal process is available to you.
- You may claim directly against the other driver through his/her insurance company. After you have notified your own insurance company, inform their company of the claim. Many of the steps listed previously still apply. You select a body shop and obtain an estimate, but your dealings are with the other company. However, if you choose this option, the provision for formal appraisal does not apply.
You may be required to sign a release form before receiving payment (either to you or to the body shop). By signing the release form you discharge the other person and his/her insurance company from further liability to you – this is a final payment. If you have any injuries or other claims that have not been settled, ensure that the form does not release those claims. You might want to talk to to a lawyer.
If the other driver refuses to file a report with his or her insurance company, the company may deny your claim unless you sue the driver in court and get a judgment.