It happens frequently: after a car accident with no injuries and negligible damage, the involved drivers agree upon a settlement without involving their respective insurance companies and minus the official police report. Unfortunately, too many times this arrangement just does not end well.
According to the experts, the only way that you can be assured that you will get compensated for the damages is to file an insurance claim.
Take the following incident for a prime example of the above.
I was minding my own business as I drove down the quiet, rural street where my home is located. Suddenly, I felt the force of a crash as another vehicle collided into me from behind. I exited my car to view the damage. To my surprise, the other driver – the one who had caused the accident – was my good friend and neighbor.
“Sorry,” said John with a sheepish smile.
“Don’t worry about the damage, I’ll take care of it personally. Let’s not involve the police or the insurance companies. This way, there’s no risk of an insurance premium increase, as often occurs after making a claim.”
At the time, it didn’t occur to me that there would be any problem with this arrangement. After all, John and I were friends, neighbors that met on a regular basis.
“Sure,” I responded. “If that’s the way it works best for you, I’ll go along with it.”
Well, the story did not end on a happy note. I got the back fender fixed and sent my receipt to John, with no thought that there would be anything to worry about.
I was wrong.
It’s been 60 days since the accident, and I have yet to receive recompense from John who has no shortage of excuses and promises that the payment is coming…
The above scenario repeats itself time and time again after minor collisions.
Even if the other driver is your friend, neighbor or a trusted acquaintance, there is never 100 percent assurance that you will see payment for the damages he or she caused.
In an instance where the liable driver does not honor his or her monetary commitment, time has elapsed and it may be too late to offer adequate substantiation in regard to damages and who is at fault
Besides, the liable driver may betray your trust and report the accident to his or her insurance carrier. He or she may go even further with the betrayal by twisting facts and actually lying about injury claims that never were present at the time of the accident. If this occurs, your insurance company may have to ship out a large payment. It may also initiate a lawsuit against you, as well as forcing you to pay the remainder of what the courts deem your obligation after your insurance company has reached the limits of your policy’s coverage. Lastly, you will be in for an unpleasant premium increase.