My Ins Agent said we’re filing a third party claim because other driver is 100% wrong. If we go through no-fault my new ins will go up. Is this correct?

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My Ins Agent said we’re filing a third party claim because other driver is 100% wrong. If we go through no-fault my new ins will go up. Is this correct?

Have Progressive (apx $3000/yr); changing to American Commerce in May (apx $1500/yr, pd in-full). 3/27. While driving my small car in left lane on BQE (near Brooklyn Bridge Exit), truck changed lanes into me (driver said didn’t see me but it wasn’t on police rpt). Damaged middle of truck, left side. My front, right side passenger door/fender damaged & tire blew. No one hurt. My Ins Agent said: no trucks are allowed in this lane; it’s a speed (not passing) lane, so we’re filing a 3rd party claim as my new rates will go up if we go through no-fault. But this doesn’t sound right to me. Can you help?

Asked on April 2, 2009 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Unless the other driver's company accepts full liability and works out a fair settlement immediately, we usually suggest that people who have collision insurance file a claim with their own company.

Your insurance carrier owes you a duty of good faith, and can save you lots of hassle and delays.  Sure, you bear the deductible up front, but your company will then go after the other driver's company and the two companies usually work things out between themselves with few of the games that the other driver's company likely would play on you.

Will your carrier raise rates on a non-chargeable accident where the fault is that of the other driver? Well, fault is rarely 100% clear and reasonable people sometimes differ on who was at fault, or if both parties were partially at fault. Further as here you are switching companies it is even harder to tell.

The new insurance company with the much lower rates just may not be willing to take on as insureds any drivers who were in any accident within the past X years, whether the accident was chargeable to them or was not their fault. (Some companies seem to conclude that any accident suggests the driver is not as careful as he could be to avoid the accident, or just not as lucky as if he has a dark cloud following him around.) 

On the other hand, some insurance companies pay higher commissions or bonuses or offer other incentives to agents who produce business that does not result in any claims to the company or whose business achieves a very low loss ratio. So I don't know whether the agent is looking after your interests or his or her own.


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