One of the first questions we are asked by new clients is which insurance company should fix their car. Many people do not realize they actually have two choices. The first choice is to have your insurance company pay for the repairs. The second choice is to have the at fault driver’s insurance company pay for the repairs. Each option has advantages and disadvantages.
As to the first option, you can have your insurance company pay for the repair. This is referred to as a first party claim since you are dealing with your insurance company. The advantage in dealing with your insurance company is that you have an existing relationship with the company as their insured. The disadvantage is that you will likely have a deductible. This means that your insurance company will pay for the repair less than the cost of the deductible. If you have a high deductible- as many people do- then you may wish to pursue a claim against the at fault driver’s insurance company. If you decide to have the at fault party’s insurance company pay for repairs, the advantage is that you will not have to pay for the deductible as you would with your policy.
However, the disadvantage is that you do not have a relationship with the other insurance company. They will feel no allegiance to your needs. Also, depending on the facts of the case, they may delay making a decision on whether to accept responsibility. In other words, they may refuse to pay for the loss. This sometimes happens when there is conflicting eye witness testimony or when their own insured refuses to acknowledge that he or she was responsible. In that event, you could wait a long time before the other insurance company agrees to fix your car. If that occurs, your best option is to file a first party claim with your insurance company so that you can get your car fixed quickly. Many times, an experienced repair shop can make-up dramatic price differences to cover the cost of your deductible by using used parts on cosmetic repairs. And, you can also enlist the help of your insurance company to recover the cost of your deductible from the at fault insurance company.