People frequently wonder whether they should let their own insurance company know about a car accident that was not their fault. The answer is absolutely, unequivocally, 100% yes. You should always let your own insurance company know about any car accident, regardless of who you think is at fault. The reason for this is simple. Your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company, and in that contract you have agreed to notify your insurance company after an accident. This notice must be given in a timely manner. Most policies say the notice should be given as soon as reasonably practicable or within a certain number of days. At this point you may be wondering what the consequences would be if you don’t notify your insurance company. After all, if the other driver is at fault, shouldn’t their insurance company pay for everything? Not so fast. There are number of scenarios that could arise that could require you to use your own insurance.
First, it may turn out the driver who caused the accident is uninsured. Estimates are that as many as 12% of Georgia motorists are uninsured. If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver you may need to use your own uninsured motorist coverage.
Second, even if the other driver has insurance, he or she may be underinsured. In other words, they may not have enough insurance to coverage all of your damages. Under Georgia law, the definition of an uninsured driver includes an underinsured driver. If you have an accident with an underinsured driver, your own uninsured motorist insurance may kick in to cover any damages that exceed the amount of insurance the other driver has.
Third, you may have medical payments coverage you need to use. Medical payments coverage is like health insurance for you if you are involved in a car accident. It can be used to pay your medical bills, and it applies regardless of who is at fault.
Fourth, although you may think liability is clear, the other insurance company may dispute it or attempt to apportion some of the blame to you. This could lead to a delay in getting your car repaired or replaced, which could cause a huge inconvenience for you. You may have collision coverage under your own insurance policy that can be used to pay for your property damages. This type of coverage is no fault, which means that you can use it regardless of who is at fault.
In conclusion, you should always notify your own insurance company after a car accident, even if you think the accident was not your fault. You may need to have access to a variety of coverages under your own policy, and if you don’t notify your insurance company in a timely manner you may lose access to these valuable sources of insurance.
The Champion Firm is a full-service personal injury law firm serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. Our award-winning team of attorneys specializes in car accidents, wrongful death, premises liability, and slip-and-fall cases. Learn more about our team here.