Claim misinformation — consequences?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 16, 2013

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Insurance Question from Berkeley Springs, WV

Asked on 02/16/2013

Claim misinformation — consequences? Driving mom's car; both involved cars moving; my SUV, one low-profile sportscar driven by older man and wife; witness and I saw no damage, but I was stunned -- first mishap in 20 or so years. No x-change of info, claim declared as unknown how it happened. 85-yo ailing mom can't take bad news. Didn't have heart to tell her the circumstances. Both of us have long-term sterling driving records. Everything else was done correctly. I will tell her when I work up the nerve. Am I in trouble with insurance company. I'm on her policy. I just want to correct the record with the insurance co. Trouble?

Answer given on February 17, 2013

If you had an accident in a parking lot with another driver and you were backing out, the accident would gnerally be considered your fault. It appears there was no damage to the other car, since you didn’t exchange information, so you would have to go to your insurance company for the repairs. They would handle the claim, for the total damages, less your deductible. It is not required that you have the information on the other driver since you feel it was your fault. If the car has been repaired, then the claim is settled. I don’t see where you have given any misinformation to the insurance company regarding the claim. If you have not told your mother about the incident, you should prepare to do so. If the damages exceed a certain dollar amount then your auto insurance rates could increase. Ask your agent or insurance company if there will be an increase. If so, tell your mother before the insurance policy renewal is issued with the rate increase.

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