When it comes to any sort of accident or claim, you’ll suffer fewer headaches with a reputable insurance company that’ll step in quickly. However, the thing about claims reporting up front is that before your insurance company can handle the claim, you need to know what policy you are filing for. The first step of any claim is to report, so if you get into a situation where you hit a piece of property with your automobile, then you need to consider all of the following in order to know where you should report the claim.
Who Was Responsible?
The idea of discovering who is at fault will come down to specifics of the state. There are more than enough things to consider in addition to the fault and liability, however, and the action of the person who caused the damage (and whether they are on the same policy or not) should also be considered. For example, if you or your teen driver winds up accidentally driving through the garage door, then the responsible party is most likely going to be the driver of the vehicle. At the same time, if you start driving forward into the garage and the garage door slams down on top of the car, then the claim could go with the house.
As Nolo discusses, there are different ways to assign liability. Depending upon the scenario, it could even be multiple parties who are technically at fault for an accident, even if they didn’t directly commit it. Determining fault and responsibility might be difficult, but it is a major part of the process of determining who is on the hook to pay the claim.
What Caused the Damage?
One major thing that you need to think about wasn’t just who was the responsible party, but what actually caused damage in the event as well. For example, if you had a car that clipped the side of the garage door when you were pulling in, then it is a car accident. However, you also have to be concerned whether or not the car actually did the damage or if there were other factors present as well. For example, what if it is in the middle of the winter and significant snow and ice buildup is on top of the roof? The car may have slightly pushed something out of order, but couldn’t the ice and snow weight also be considered a factor?
This is why it’s essential to make sure your insurer has a knowledgeable claims team. It might not be the top criteria when you are searching on a free auto insurance quoteswebsite, but having access to staff members making sure you aren’t overpaying on claims is a nice safeguard.
Are They on Separate Policies?
Another major item to consider is whether or not your home and auto are on the same policy or not. While it might be easier to just turn in the claim if they are all on the same policy, there could still be reasons why you have your home on one and then your auto on another. The reason this is so important is because if your home and auto are on the same policy, then the same company will be on the hook for payments so it might not make a difference, or at least you can have the professionals sort it out without too much hassle.
Subrogation May Occur
If you want to let your company fight for you (or let the companies fight amongst themselves), then you could always turn in the claim and then let the professionals subrogate. As stated in Free Advice: Insurance, you can let subrogation happen in a claim and not have to worry about any of the consequences. In short, subrogation is really nothing more than turning in the claim and letting the insurance company pay for it. Then, if they believe they weren’t at fault and shouldn’t have had to pay, they can go back to the responsible party or parties and try to collect what they paid on your behalf. Subrogation essentially works on your behalf because you not only don’t have to pay the money up front while the arguing and blame game is going on, but you also don’t need to fight back and forth on insurance law and legal terminology.
As you can see, there isn’t a definitive answer for what happens in a case where both a home and an auto are involved. That being said, even in some of the simplest occurrence, there can wind up being a significant amount of back and forth. Rather than trying to become an insurance lawyer and do it all yourself, it makes more sense to simply obtain quotes and coverage from a company you will trust to represent you.