No driver wants to experience a car accident. The personal injuries and property damage can be painful and frustrating, let alone the insurance process. After you’ve been hit by another car on the roads, exchanging insurance information is often the first step toward seeking compensation for damages caused by the accident. When you find out that the other driver has the same insurance carrier as you, you may wonder how this fact could affect the claims and payout process. Many people believe it is helpful to have the same insurance as the other driver. This is simply not true.
Avoiding Conflict of Interest
In principle, insurance companies should deal with accidents between two customers in the same way they would deal with any other accident involving only one customer. In order to avoid a conflict of interest, an auto insurer will generally assign two separate adjusters, one to each driver, in order to evaluate their claim and liability independently. If both agree as to which driver was at fault, the insurer will process the claim in favor of the other driver. If there is a conflict between their determinations, however, the two adjusters will mediate the situation to arrive at an agreement. If the insurer does not act to prevent a conflict of interest, you can contact a Las Vegas injury law firm to help protect your rights.
Review Your Deductible
Generally speaking, drivers in Las Vegas car accidents must pay a “deductible” before their insurance company’s money comes in. This is a portion of what repairs and related bills will cost for which the driver is responsible.
However, if both drivers happen to have the same insurance, one of them may not need to pay this deductible. Though there are exceptions, it’s common policy to charge only the at-fault driver a deductible. If the other party clearly didn’t contribute to the accident, typically they’re off the hook for the deductible.
Before you start celebrating, though, you should check your policy documents to verify that this is the case!
Overview of Potential Benefits and Concerns
The reality is you will not notice much of a difference between dealing with another insurance company or your own insurance company. The adjuster handling your case will be looking out for the other driver, not you. The adjuster will try to pay you as little as possible for your claim.
There are some potential benefits to a customer in this situation.
- Your deductible may be waved.
- There is also less likely to be a dispute.
There are also serious issues that should concern drivers who have been injured in a crash. For example:
- If an insurer provides only one adjuster to both parties, there is a risk that neither driver will receive adequate compensation or fair treatment.
- A less ethical insurer may try to deny a claim
Additional Benefits of Having the Same Car Insurance
Remember, even though the process is internal to your insurance company, it should be treated similarly to any other claim. The company may be motivated to expedite your claim given that you’re a customer. Depending on what your policy’s deductible is, not owing that could potentially save you thousands of dollars.
The benefits of having the same insurance are limited due to state and federal privacy and anti-discrimination laws. For example, your adjuster can’t legally share any information to speed up your claim with the other party’s adjuster without your consent.
Further Possible Obstacles
After your car accident Las Vegas, as the party not at-fault, you’re probably relieved that you won’t be paying your deductible. However, don’t let your guard down just yet! Here are some potential issues that could adversely affect the outcome to know.
As soon as a claim is filed, your insurance company will assign two claims adjusters to the case. In the vast majority of cases, they act just impartially as they would if they were negotiating with an out-of-company adjuster. However, there’s always a small chance that adjusters who belong to the same company could collude to offer you an artificially small settlement. Some adjusters get commissions if they settle a claim at below market rate, as well.
Another unscrupulous tactic you may see is the intentional delaying of your claim. Of course, the process naturally takes time. If you notice a pattern of huge gaps in communication with no explanation, there’s likely a problem. When weeks fly by with no progress, you may want to contact an attorney to expedite the claims process.
Even worse, your claim could be entirely denied. This could be based on a legal but ethically questionable technicality in your policy. You should get a reason, in writing, explaining why the claim was denied. If you don’t agree with or understand the reasoning, a third-party attorney specializing in Las Vegas car accidents can assist.
Protect Your Rights
For drivers who have been seriously injured because of a car accident in which they were not at fault, simply filing a claim with your insurer may not be sufficient to secure the compensation that you need to deal with lasting injuries. For drivers who are in a crash with another driver that shares the same insurance company, it can be particularly important to stay vigilant to protect your rights. People often believe their own insurance will be looking out for their interests. That is not the case. The Schnitzer Law Firm, a Las Vegas injury law firm, can help fight to secure the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 702-960-4050 or use our simple online form to set up a free consultation with no obligation.