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Etiquette

NER: Question about filing a car accident claim

Last sunday FI and I were rear ended pretty hard while stopped during traffic.  Luckily, no one was hurt and the damage done to my car is minimal.  Also of importance: at this stage in my car's life, it's a beater.  It's got dents, scratches and peeling paint in various places. 

FI thinks I should take the car for an estimate, collect a check from the at fault party's insurance company and yay, have spending money.  To me, that just screams scam and absolutely the wrong thing to do.  Especially if the at fault insurance company sends out an adjustor........aren't they going to know that I have no intention of getting the repair?  I dunno.  FI won't get off my back about it and other than I feel like it's the wrong thing to do, I don't have any other explanation.  Does anyone know if legally doing that would be considered fraud?  Or any reasons why I should listen to FI?  Or am I right here?  Thanks!

Re: NER: Question about filing a car accident claim

  • rsannarsanna member
    500 Comments 5 Love Its First Anniversary
    edited November 2012
    I don't know how helpful this is, but I would file the claim and save the money for a new car. I mean, you said yours isn't in that great of shape and the accident is lowering whatever value you do have in your car.  I dont' know how helpful that is, but that is just me.

    ETA: Also, I know it's not the same, but personally I feel like you would probably file a claim if your car was totaled or undriveable, so why wouldn't you for another accident? Because what happens if you DO get into another accident and your car does get totaled? Should you be forced to either A. shoulder all the blame for damage that you didn't do (if the next one is your fault) or B. shoulder the other party with all of the blame for the damage (if they are at fault.)
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  • I don't think it's fraud either... you had damage and their insurance paid you for the damage. you release them from any futher claims( not a promise to repair your car)  when you sign the back of the check.....The only thing I would warn you of is...you said you were hit pretty hard...make sure you do not have any neck or back problems stemming from this.
  • In Response to Re: NER: Question about filing a car accident claim:
    I don't know how helpful this is, but I would file the claim and save the money for a new car. I mean, you said yours isn't in that great of shape and the accident is lowering whatever value you do have in your car.  I dont' know how helpful that is, but that is just me.
    Posted by rsanna
    Ditto this. I would file the claim and collect the check and put it towards a new car. The other insurance company won't know that you don't plan on fixing the car unless you say that you aren't.

    I agree with Edie, though. If your gut is saying no, there's a reason.
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  • I did take it to a shop today and they said it's only cosmetic.  would require buffing out the scuff marks and paint.  I did not get a quote b/c as I said my car is cosmetically a wreck so I already know I won't get it fixed.  FI wants me to go back to a place, get a quote, submit to the insurance company of the driver and then collect the check.  The amount won't be enough to put towards a new car, probably less than $300, and since the plan is for me to wait until I've started working to get a new car, that $300 will be spent long before that happens.  So because I know I'm not going to get it fixed and instead put the money towards our honeymoon that's why i feel it's not right to do.
  • misshart00misshart00 Oklahoma member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    I don't view it as fraud because the other person devalued your car. So even if you were to sell it, you would have to sell it for less because of the accident. So I feel like the insurance company is just paying you back for the devaluation of your car. I hope that made sense.
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    I've done it. My car got hit by someone at a stop light but was still driveable. I received a check but just never got around to getting it fixed. I wasn't intentionally trying to keep the money for other things, just hadn't had a chance to deal with the car yet. Then I flipped my car and totalled it on an icy road many months later and had to get a new car. I was glad that I had never spent that money on fixing my car before because then I had a little extra. It wasn't much, but every little bit helps.
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  • In Response to Re: NER: Question about filing a car accident claim:
    I backed into a parked car in my apartment building's parking lot two years ago.  I made a dinner-plate sized dent.  The owner filed a claim, my insurance paid out...and as of last month, she still hadn't fixed the dent.  However, she had just had a baby when I hit her car, and I assumed she used the money for the baby and was fine with it.  HOWEVER, if you file a claim, your premiums may go up.  If you'd only get a couple hundred bucks from it, it may not be worth it.
    Posted by nancyarahn
    This was my other concern.  I assume that even though I was not at fault, if I choose to pursue this, my insurance company should be notified that there was an accident, and could increase my rate next year even though I was not the at fault driver and even though my insurance would not be paying anything.  In my opinion, an increased rate is not worth <$300. 
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    In Response to Re: NER: Question about filing a car accident claim:
    In Response to Re: NER: Question about filing a car accident claim : This was my other concern.  I assume that even though I was not at fault, if I choose to pursue this, my insurance company should be notified that there was an accident, and could increase my rate next year even though I was not the at fault driver and even though my insurance would not be paying anything.  In my opinion, an increased rate is not worth <$300. 
    Posted by SB1512
    Within two years, I was involved in two incidents that were both 100% not my fault.  My premiums did not increase and I live in NJ, where we have the highest costs for insurance.  So they would have increased me if they could!  Since the accident was not your fault, then your insurance should not increase and if it does, you call them, complain, and tell them you are leaving it ifs not decreased to your pre-accident level.  Then you either follow through or find a new insurance company.  But an accident that was not 100% your fault, should not raise your premiums.
  • I worked as an Auto Insurance Adjuster for many years. It is not fraud to just keep the money. A lot of people opt not to fix their car if it is still driveable and that is okay. If you have a loan for the car, the bank would have to sign off on the check. If not, you are fine.
  • Thanks.  Looks like then the concensus is that I can get some $$ out of this and not use it for my car and feel OK about it.
  • Just so you know for future reference (although not applicable in this situation), I was in a hit and run where the other driver was clearly at fault. My insurance therefore had to pay out to replace my entire front bumper. They assured me that they knew it was not my fault, especially since i had gotten the other guy's plate # and they found out he had a few priors and was on probation. However, the next year, my insurance preium went up. We called and asked, and they said it was a normal increase having nothing to do with my accident. Complete B.S. since FI and I had the same plan (although not together) in the same town, and his didn't even change one cent. 
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  • In Response to Re:NER: Question about filing a car accident claim:
    HOWEVER, if you file a claim, your premiums may go up.nbsp; If you'd only get a couple hundred bucks from it, it may not be worth it. Posted by nancyarahn
    OP wouldn't be filing a claim with her own insurance company. She would be filing a claim with the at fault driver's policy. It should have no effect on her own policy or premiums.
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  • I work in an auto repair shop and maybe it is just different up here, but when a car comes in for an insurance job it has always been dealt with us making an estimate, we then have to call the insurance to support the claim made, typically we back it up with pictures and sometimes they come to the shop for approval of the repair and then they send the check directly to our shop for the repairs.  The only time I have seen the money go directly the owner was when the vehicle was so damaged we had recommended that it was beyond repair (it would cost more to repair then what the vehicle was worth) so the customer received money from insurance to put towards another down payment on a new car.  So it may be possible for you to get money, but that would depend on how your insurance deals with claims, I think.       
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  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    It depends on the insurance company. The one I worked for called this a "cash settlement". If one of our policyholders took it, we made a note of the damage so they couldn't claim it again. If they did have another, say, rear-end accident, that prior damage to the rear would be deducted from the repair estimate.

    Since you're going through the other insurance carrier, make sure you still report it as a claim to your insurance company. Since they aren't paying for it, it's just "record only" and there for underwriting purposes. It also shows them you're being honest about the prior damage.

    Also, you can have them send out a damage adjuster to give you an estimate. They'll pay based off that estimate. If you go to a shop, they may be required to pay the shop. Check with your claim adjuster.

    This is really common. I used to process 6-7 of these every day. Times are hard, and people would rather have money for bills than knocking a dent out of their bumper. The only time you're obligated to repair the damage is if you have a lease. (If someone had a lease, we were required to pay the body shop.)

    Good luck! :)

  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    In Response to Re: NER: Question about filing a car accident claim:
    In Response to Re: NER: Question about filing a car accident claim : This was my other concern.  I assume that even though I was not at fault, if I choose to pursue this, my insurance company should be notified that there was an accident, and could increase my rate next year even though I was not the at fault driver and even though my insurance would not be paying anything.  In my opinion, an increased rate is not worth <$300. 
    Posted by SB1512
    Nope. Don't worry about that. Since you weren't at-fault and they aren't paying anything on the claim, it's just there for notification purposes. Check your policy. My insurance requires me to report a loss, even if I'm not at-fault or having repairs done. It's simply for their own records so they know about any damage to my vehicle and can fight the other insurance company if they start to get squicky about liability. If you have any doubts, you can check with your agent.


  • I was just in a car accident this summer. I got rear ended horribly in my brand new car (just driven off the lot a week prior).

    The process was: I had to take it to a body shop and get an estimate and the claims adjustor from the at-fault driver's insurance company had to be there when they gave an estimate. This was to make sure I wasn't in "cahoots" with the body shop, having them lie and say it cost more than it did to fix, etc.

    When they came to an estimate, the insurance company wrote out a check TO THE BODY SHOP. I did not get the check written out to me personally because the money was for the body shop fixing the car, not for me to spend how I wanted. This is why I don't know that you can do what you plan to do with it. It's not like the insurance company just said, "Here, take some cash for the car." I don't know of any insurance company that would do that, so I would really check into this before assuming you can use the money for shopping or whatever.


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