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Wait – that accident wasn’t my fault! Know your rights as a claimant.

If you have an auto accident where you are at fault, your insurer covers the damages under the terms of their contract with you, and that coverage is subject to the terms and conditions of that contract.

However, what many people do not understand is how that scenario changes when the other driver’s insurance is responsible for covering the loss. Most drivers will assume that the terms and conditions of the other driver’s policy apply to them as well, and will accept limitations like waiting for a rental car or the use of non-OEM parts to make the repairs.

But when you are the third party – in other words, when the other person’s insurance is in effect, and not your own – your claim is actually against the other driver, not their insurer. This is a vital distinction because they, not you, have a contract with that insurer, so you are not bound by the terms and conditions of their policy.

For example, another driver causes damage to your vehicle due to negligence. The liability portion of their insurance contract obligates their carrier to pay damages to you up to the limits of their coverage. In many cases, their representatives will attempt to dictate to you a specific shop to make the repairs, a waiting period before delivering a rental vehicle, or other restrictions.

Remember, you cannot be bound by a contract to which you are not a party. In simpler terms, you have no agreement with the other driver’s insurer, so their decisions are not binding to you. Make it clear to any representatives that you understand this, that you will choose the repair facility and, if you wish, will stipulate the use of original parts for your repairs. You may well be entitled to the immediate use of a rental vehicle as well.

Just keep in mind the responsibilities of each party to the claim:

  • the at-fault party owes you, the claimant
  • the insurer owes protection to the at-fault party
  • you, the claimant, have legal control over the repair process

Questions about third-party claims? Contact Consolidated Insurance.