How to Handle a Car Accident When You Both Have the Same Insurance Provider

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Having the same car insurance company as the other driver in an accident may not be as beneficial as you think. (Photo: @FreedomTumZ via Twenty20)
All states in the U.S. require you to carry car insurance on your vehicle. Usually, when an accident occurs, the insurance for the at-fault driver covers a majority of the bills for bodily injury and property damage. But what happens when both parties involved in an accident carry coverage with the same car insurance company?

Who Pays the Car Insurance Deductible?

The main difference between drivers who have different car insurance companies and those who share companies lies in the deductible. Normally, if you have an accident, whether at-fault or not, you need to pay a deductible before your insurance company starts to pay anything.
When you and the other driver have the same insurance company, the carrier usually doesn’t require the not-at-fault driver to pay a deductible, instead opting to have the policy of the at-fault driver pay the deductible.
This usually only holds true in cases where the blame clearly lies with one driver over the other. If the adjusters must investigate to determine the at-fault driver, then both drivers usually have to pay a deductible.

The Car Accident Claim Process Timeline

Just because you and the other driver have the same insurance company does not mean that the claim process will go any faster. By law, insurance companies cannot discriminate for or against a claim just because both drivers carry a policy with them. They handle all claims the same way and take roughly the same amount of time to complete them.

Different Adjusters from the Same Car Insurance Company

When you file an insurance claim, or have one filed against you, the insurance company assigns an individual adjuster to handle your claim to avoid any conflicts of interest. Both insurance adjusters work separately to come to a conclusion about who caused the accident, which policy covers what, and how much each policy pays.
In addition, just because your adjuster and the other driver’s adjuster work for the same company doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t question any offers of payment, especially if it seems too low. Proceeding as if the other driver has a policy with a different company represents the best way to make sure that you receive a fair settlement.

What to Watch Out for When Processing a Claim

While most car insurance companies handle claims from two clients who have an insurance policy with the company the same way they do with any other claim, sometimes the company might participate in unethical business practices. Some of these practices include:
Delays in handling claims: While you hope that a car insurance company processes your claim in a timely manner, especially when you rely on your vehicle for work, sometimes insurers delay processing claims for one reason or the other.
The best way to respond when this happens is to keep a patient but persistent approach and seek the advice of an attorney if you suspect delays on your insurer’s part for no good reason.
Denial of claims: Sometimes a claim results in a denial. The first step to take when this happens is finding out exactly why your insurer denied the claim. Some common reasons include lapses in coverage, limitation for damages, or inadequate coverage to pay for damages and injuries, such as only having liability as the at-fault driver in an accident. To avoid this, review your coverage often to make sure it remains up to date.
Lack of communication: Occasionally, an insurer fails to communicate properly with policyholders. While an initial lack of communication represents bad customer service on the company’s part, it doesn’t indicate wrongdoing.
Continue to attempt to communicate with the company, making sure to document every time you do successfully communicate with the company by using an email or letter as a follow-up. If the lack of communication continues, go up the chain of command at the company until someone responds, starting with the adjuster, then their supervisor, and then moving up from there.
Having the same car insurance company as the driver you get into an accident with does not mean you get any special privileges. Adjusters for both sides of the claim work to determine the at-fault party and take the same amount of time as normal while doing so. At most, you might not have to pay a deductible in a case where the other driver is clearly at fault.