car insurance
provider will usually handle insurance claims made against you, but you might be asked to provide evidence to help dispute the claim. You may not need to be involved in the claims settlement process; however, you’ll still see higher insurance premiums following an at-fault accident.

What happens when someone makes a car insurance claim against you?

If you’ve received notice from your insurance company that a car insurance claim has been filed against you, this means that a third party (the claimant) is seeking reimbursement for damages or injuries sustained in an
at-fault car accident
Depending on what happened in the accident, the claimant may choose to file a personal injury claim, a property damage claim, or both.
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Personal injury claims cover:
  • Medical bills
  • Funeral expenses
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost wages
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Property damage claims cover damage to:
  • Vehicles
  • Buildings
  • Mailboxes
  • Other personal property
In either case, you’ll typically need to speak to an adjuster to present any evidence in your favor, but your insurance company will handle the settlement provided the total payout is within your policy limits.

Steps to take when a car insurance claim is filed against you

If a car insurance claim is filed against you and you carry at least the required
state minimum insurance
, your insurance company will typically handle the bulk of the claims process for you. Here’s what you can expect:
  1. You receive a notice of the claim from either your insurance provider or the third-party claimant.
  2. If you have any evidence that may help you dispute the claim (like dash cam footage, eyewitness accounts, photo evidence from the scene of the accident, etc.), you’ll need to inform your insurance provider right away.
  3. You’ll be put into contact with a claims adjuster, who will explain your options and help your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company come to an agreement on a settlement.
  4. Your insurance provider will offer a settlement to the claimant based on your coverage levels and the validity of the claim.
  5. The other driver may accept the offer, or they may decide to negotiate for a better settlement. Usually, you won’t need to be involved in this process at all.1
  6. If your insurance company refuses to provide adequate reimbursement for the damages, the other driver may file a lawsuit against you. In this case, you’ll need to contact an experienced car insurance lawyer to help you navigate the lawsuit process.
Usually, you won’t need to have much involvement in the claims process beyond providing evidence of your innocence, if necessary. However, if you believe that the claim may be fraudulent or that either insurance company is acting in bad faith, you should contact a car accident attorney for a free consultation as soon as possible.

Can you dispute a car insurance claim made against you?

You can dispute a car insurance claim made against you if you believe one or more of the following:
  • Fault was not assigned correctly: You can dispute fault assignments if you believe that the other driver shares more fault than your settlement indicates. This kind of dispute can usually be settled out of court but, in certain complicated instances with a lot of money at stake, the case may need to be decided by a jury. This is extremely uncommon and only occurs in 1-2% of cases. 2
  • The claim itself is fraudulent: If you believe that the claim made against you is fraudulent in some way (like if you notice suspiciously high repair costs, inconsistent damages, or unexpected medical bills), you can choose to sue the other driver and/or their insurance company.
In either case, be sure to hire a competent, experienced insurance claims attorney or car accident lawyer to argue your case. If you plan to file an injury claim, make sure you choose a lawyer who also has experience with injury cases. 
Having proper legal representation will improve your chances of winning the case and reaching a better settlement. Many insurance claim lawyers and law firms will offer a free case evaluation to policyholders who wish to dispute third-party claims. 

What kind of evidence can help when disputing a car insurance claim?

If you do choose to dispute an auto insurance claim that has been made against you, it helps to come with evidence from credible sources, such as:
  • A police report
  • Witness statements
  • Photos of vehicle damage
  • Video of the auto accident, such as dash cam footage or security camera footage
Armed with evidence in your favor and the legal advice of an experienced attorney, you’ll be much more likely to win your dispute.

Types of auto insurance claims: What you should know

There are three primary types of insurance claims. If a claim is being made against you, it will typically be an at-fault claim. However, you may sometimes find that a partial fault claim has been made against you following an accident in which you and the other driver share blame.
Here’s what to know about each type of insurance claim.

At-fault claims

An at-fault claim is one for which you are deemed to be responsible. If a car insurance claim is made against you, it will typically be an at-fault claim. These types of claims include things like rear-ending someone, hitting someone’s parked vehicle, or otherwise causing an accident due to negligence.

Non-fault claims

A non-fault claim is a successful claim that you file against another driver. A claim for a hit-and-run, for example, would be considered a non-fault claim, since you do not share any of the fault for the accident.

Partial-fault claims

A partial fault claim is one where the fault is shared among the drivers involved in the accident. The insurers of all parties involved will assess the circumstances of the accident to reach a settlement agreement based on how they see the share of fault. These claims may be made against you, but you’ll make a similar claim against the other person for their share of the fault.

How an auto insurance claim affects your car insurance rates

After an accident claim, car insurance companies will increase your insurance rates, sometimes by quite a lot. Here are a few things you can do to find affordable car insurance after an at-fault accident:
  • Shop around for a better rate: After an accident, it’s a good idea to gather quotes from several providers to make sure you’re still getting the best rates available. Download
    to learn more about the other options out there.
  • Look for insurance discounts: All insurance providers offer
    car insurance discounts
    , even if they’re not advertised. Contact your insurance agent and ask about opportunities for savings, or use
    ’s discount tool to learn more about your options.
  • Raise your deductible: If you raise your
    for your comprehensive and collision insurance, your insurance rates will decrease. Just make sure you don’t raise your deductible above what you can afford to pay out-of-pocket in the event of another accident.
  • Bundle your auto and homeowners insurance: By
    bundling your home and auto insurance
    (or your auto and renters insurance), you could save on both policies with a multi-policy discount.
  • As a last resort, adjust your policy limits: It may be tempting to opt for lower coverage limits following a car accident, since this leads to lower rates. However, remember that, if you get into another accident, you’ll be financially responsible for any damages not covered by your insurance. It’s almost always a good idea to carry as much coverage as you can afford.
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How long does it take to get an insurance pay out?

The timeframe of a car accident settlement varies depending on things like the severity of the accident and how quickly the insurance adjuster can assign fault. Usually, it will take anywhere from several weeks to a few months to receive an insurance payout after making a claim.

How long will your insurance rates be high after an accident?

Typically, your car insurance rates will be higher for three to five years following an accident. However, some drivers see higher rates with specific insurance companies for much longer depending on the severity of the accident.

What kind of insurance information do you need from the other driver after an accident?

After an accident, you’ll need to give the other driver your insurance company and policy number. You should also give your name and phone number to the other driver and, in some states, you’ll need to provide them with your vehicle identification number (VIN) as well.

Meet our experts

Liz Jenson
Liz Jenson is an insurance writer who specializes in general automotive and insurance topics. Liz’s mission is to produce informative and useful content to help car owners make smart choices when buying cars and car insurance. Since joining Jerry in 2021, Liz has written nearly 4,000 long- and short-form articles on topics including state-specific insurance recommendations, common car insurance questions, and deep dives into vehicle model details.
Before they came to Jerry, Liz was a full-time student at Indiana University, Bloomington working on a double major in English and French.
Amy Bobinger
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Licensed Insurance Agent — Expert Insurance Editor
Expert insurance writer and editor Amy Bobinger specializes in car repair, car maintenance, and car insurance. Amy is passionate about creating content that helps consumers navigate challenges related to car ownership and achieve financial success in areas relating to cars.
Amy has over 10 years of writing and editing experience. After several years as a freelance writer, Amy spent four years as an editing fellow at WikiHow, where she co-authored over 600 articles on topics including car maintenance and home ownership. Since joining Jerry’s editorial team in 2022, Amy has edited over 2,500 articles on car insurance, state driving laws, and car repair and maintenance.

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