Drivers often worry about their insurance premiums increasing after being in a Georgia car accident, whether or not they were at fault. That fear is justified. In many cases, however, it is important to promptly notify your insurer that you were in an accident.
There are times when notifying your insurance company is required by the terms of your policy (particularly if another driver makes a claim against your insurance). In those cases, failing to notify your insurer might jeopardize your coverage.
However, when an accident causes no physical injuries and there is only minor damage to the vehicle, you might think twice about notifying your insurer. Notifying your insurance depends on circumstances such as repair costs to your vehicle, the kind of insurance purchased, who was found at fault, and the deductible that would apply to your insurance claim.
When a Georgia car accident causes injuries or serious property damage, it is important for a driver to notify his or her insurance company. It is also important to talk to a Georgia personal injury lawyer before giving that notice. A lawyer can provide essential advice about what to expect and how to respond to questions posed by the insurance adjuster.
Insurance Adjusters Are Not Your Friend
Insurance companies like to create the impression that they exist to serve your needs. However, they exist first to make a profit for their shareholders. The less helpful they are, as measured by paying claims, the more money they make.
In a two-car accident, two different insurance adjusters may be involved unless both drivers are insured by the same company. In an accident involving an uninsured driver, a hit-and-run, or a single-car accident, the insurance adjuster who works for your company will probably be the only adjuster who handles your claim.
If you make a claim against your own insurance company, pursuant to your uninsured motorist coverage, your insurer will assign an adjuster to handle your claim. Whether or not you make a claim against another driver’s insurance company, you may also want to make a claim against your own company for property damage. This is pursuant to your collision coverage or for medical expenses pursuant to your medical payments coverage.
Whether the adjuster is employed by your insurance company or the other driver’s insurer, their job is to minimize the payment their company will make. Your own insurance company is supposed to take care of your needs fairly, but that does not always happen. Whereas, an adjuster working for another driver’s insurance company has no obligation to be fair to you.
Should I Notify My Insurance Company?
If you drove your car into a telephone pole, you probably shouldn’t notify your insurance company. If the deductible on your collision coverage would exceed the repair cost, you will gain nothing but a premium increase by telling your insurer about the accident. However, if you damaged the pole, you’ll need to report the accident to the police.
If you collided with another vehicle and you or the other driver were injured, your insurance policy will probably require you to report the collision. The policy will require you to report the accident especially if you damaged the other driver’s vehicle. If you don’t notify your insurance, you might lose their protection.
Of course, if you want to make a claim against your company’s uninsured motorist or property damage coverage, you’ll need to promptly notify your insurance company about the potential claim.
If you are uncertain about the best course of action, you can get advice from a Georgia car accident lawyer. The attorney can notify your insurance company on your behalf.
Should I Make a Statement to the Insurance Adjuster?
If you are dealing with an adjuster from your own insurance company, your policy probably imposes a duty to cooperate with the adjuster’s investigation.
Your best approach in dealing with a claims adjuster from your own company is to tell the adjuster that you will be happy to answer questions at a more convenient time. You should take a telephone number and promise to call the adjuster within the next few days.
Your next call should be to your attorney so he or she can give you advice on how to answer the insurance adjuster’s questions. If you are making a claim for personal injuries against your uninsured motorist coverage, your lawyer will want to be present whenever you talk to the adjuster.
If you are dealing with an adjuster from the other driver’s insurance company, you have no duty to cooperate. Your best bet is to tell the adjuster that you have retained, or plan to retain, a car accident attorney. Take the adjuster’s name and number and tell the adjuster that your attorney will be in touch. Let your lawyer take it from there.