The Different Car Accident Insurance Situations

06/09/2016 04:42 pm ET Updated Jun 10, 2017

Car insurance, everyone has it, but rarely do they think about using it. Unfortunately, everyday there are people who get into an accident and get into an insurance situation, which they have little knowledge about. Filing an insurance claim is a long and tedious process that becomes harder when taking into account any injuries or car damage you sustained. Luckily, knowing the ins and outs of your insurance prior is pivotal to having a smooth post-accident process. There are many insurance situations that arise depending on the accident type.

No One Was Injured and There Is No Extensive Damage

This is the best-case scenario. The other driver is safe, you're safe and maybe there's a slight bit of damage on one or both cars. Settling the matter should not take long if you have collision insurance. Collision insurance covers damage to your car incurred by an accident, but most importantly is handled by your own insurance company. Filing through your own company before the other driver's will always be the easier. As long as your deductible is less than the total damage cost, collision insurance is your best bet.

If you do not have collision insurance, you will have to file a claim through the other driver's property damage liability (PD) insurance. Going through another company will take more time, but if the damage is small and inexpensive, there should not be many issues getting it processed. Be sure to consult with your own insurer before settling on any agreement however.
If the damage is less than $500, you don't have to worry about your rates going up. Most insurance companies do not qualify accidents as anything that costs less than $500 to fix.

The Other Driver Is Injured

If the other driver was injured, there is not much you can do on your end. Your Bodily Injury liability insurance will pay for medical costs if the other driver does not have Personal Injury Protection (PIP). You can only hope their medical expenses are within your limits. How much you need to pay out again depends on the state you got into the accident. You need to be 100% at-fault to be forced to pay anything while driving in a pure contributory state like North Carolina. If you were driving in West Virginia, the other driver would have to prove you were at least 50% at-fault. While in Mississippi, you would pay in direct proportion to your percentage of fault. In general, Different states have different rules about defining fault.

It can come down to a battle between insurance companies and lawyers before fault is finally settled. It is why police reports and carefully assessment of the crash are necessary. Remember to never settle without consulting your insurer first.

You Are Injured

Personal injury protection or Medical Pay (MedPay) insurance are the easiest ways to cover your own medical costs. There is nothing to worry about if you are in a no-fault state like Utah since PIP is mandatory. You can think of PIP like collision insurance for your body. It will be the fastest and easiest claim to process because it goes through your own insurance. In states that do not require mandatory PIP, you have the option to buy MedPay insurance, which does the same thing. Both types of coverage can be completely worth the extra payment if you can afford it.
You will need to go through the other driver's bodily injury insurance if you do not have either of those coverages. If you do this, the process will be longer and subject to more obstacles.

You Are Injured and/or Have Car Damage but the Other Driver is Uninsured or Underinsured

If the other driver is not insured, or they do not have enough insurance to cover your damages things get tricky. If you wish for him or her to cover your expenses, it may be necessary to take them to court.

You also have the option to purchase under and/or uninsured motorist insurance. If you have this coverage, it can bail you out and help you avoid courtroom appearances. The premiums for this coverage are usually pretty low compared to other types of coverage. Also, if you are not at fault, your premiums will not rise by filing an uninsured motorist claim.