What happens if both drivers in a car accident have the same car insurance company? This guide by The Millar Law Firm, Atlanta car accident lawyers, can help.
- When both parties in an accident share the same insurance carrier, the process of filing an insurance claim works similarly to when drivers are insured by different companies.
- There should be no conflict of interest when the same company insures both drivers because the claim is against the liability policy of the at-fault driver.
- Insurance companies have a legal duty to investigate properly and fairly even when an accident involves two insured drivers; it may not punish a customer for filing a claim.
- Filing a claim with your own insurance company or being a long-time customer will not guarantee you full compensation for your losses. A personal injury attorney can handle the claim against your carrier and protect your financial interests.
As Georgia has become one of the fastest-growing states in the US, increasingly congested roadways and auto accidents have become a daily reality for its residents. Because large insurance companies like Allstate, GEICO, State Farm, Progressive and others dominate the Atlanta market, it is no longer uncommon for drivers involved in car accident to discover they are insured by the same carrier.
When the same company insures both parties to a collision, the insurance company must adjust the claim in such a way as to avoid a conflict of interest.
In theory, the company will assign two independent claims adjusters to investigate the crash and assign fault. Additionally, personal injury lawyers who handle car and truck accident cases will handle the case in the same way as any other case.
Still, there are some pros and cons when the incident is insured on both sides by the same company.
Advantages of Sharing the Same Insurance Company
Though sharing an insurance carrier does not guarantee a smoother process, there are some advantages when both drivers are covered by the same company.
Communicating with representatives from your own insurance company is generally easier than dealing with a competing carrier. Lag time in getting a response can also be reduced when the insurance company has access to both drivers’ policies and information.
In addition, the insurance company may not require the driver who was hit to meet a deductible before repairing the vehicle. By contrast, even drivers who are not at fault must often pay their deductible up-front before the carrier will cover repairs when the other driver is insured by a different company.
Despite these benefits, all insurance companies try to maximize their profits by paying as little as possible on claims. Drivers who incur medical bills, lost income, or lifestyle changes because of an auto accident may still struggle to get full coverage from their own insurance carrier.
Disadvantages of Sharing the Same Insurance Company
When drivers involved in an accident share the same insurance company, there are some potential drawbacks.
First, if a driver wants to pursue a lawsuit, the claim will be defended by their own carrier because it holds the policy for the other driver. Though insurance carriers have a legal duty to investigate and handle the case fairly, one must ensure that an adjuster does not protect the company at their expense. Failure to act in the insured’s best interest can be “bad faith” under Georgia law.
Additionally, the claims process may not be any quicker than when two drivers have different insurance carriers. This is because each driver is still typically assigned a separate adjuster to determine who is at fault, and they may not be located in the same office or city.
Customer Loyalty May Not Be What You Expect It to Be
It is a common misperception that insurance carriers are more likely to cover the full costs for a long-time customer, but this is not usually the case. Drivers should be aware that client history or loyalty is not a typical factor in determining compensation. Instead, the insurance company will look at details such as the severity of the accident and injuries and any corresponding medical expenses.
Customers who have developed a friendly relationship with their insurance agent may feel that a company adjuster has their best interests at heart. However, it’s important to remember that insurance companies are primarily focused on profits, not friendships or loyalty. Any statements you make to insurance representatives will usually be recorded and possibly used against you to deny or downplay your claim.
Drivers may also find that their insurance company is quick to offer money to fix their car or pay for a rental, but the amount of compensation typically does not cover the full cost of their accident.
If the driver was not at fault in the accident, Georgia law generally prohibits carriers from raising rates or discontinuing coverage because a customer files a claim against their own insurance company.
In theory, there should be no conflict of interest simply because both customers are insured by the came insurance carrier. Insurers have a legal duty to investigate the accident fairly and should give each driver a separate claims adjuster. If there is a lawsuit, the carrier will also assign different attorneys to represent them.
Sharing an insurance agent should not affect the claims process. Insurance agents sell insurance, while adjusters handle claims. Agents and adjusters are different departments, rarely interact, and may not even be part of the same insurance carrier.
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Protect Your Financial Interests
When you are involved in an auto accident, your top priority should be protecting your interests, even if that means filing a legal claim against your insurance company.
Auto accidents can be financially devastating, and your carrier has a responsibility to cover your losses. However, insurance companies always guard their bottom lines, which means you need someone looking out for you.
An experienced car accident attorney can help you protect your interests by pursuing your claim against the insurance company. Call The Millar Law Firm today at (770) 400-0000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys.