- When both drivers 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 often dominate the market, it’s not uncommon for drivers involved in an accident to discover they are insured by the same carrier.
In some parts of Georgia, smaller insurance companies target the region, so drivers are more likely to share an insurance carrier if they have an accident in their hometown. Further complicating matters is that there are fewer insurance agents in certain areas, so drivers may find they share both an insurance agent and a carrier.
When drivers are involved in an accident with someone who is insured by the same company, they may wonder whether the claims process is different or if the company will handle their claim impartially and responsibly.
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 legal claim, they must file one against their own carrier because it holds the policy for the other driver. Though insurance carriers have a legal duty to investigate fairly, customers must ensure that their adjuster does not protect the company at their expense.
Second, when drivers share an insurance carrier, there is only one company investigating the accident. Ideally, the company would handle the claim impartially and assign separate insurance adjusters to examine the accident independently, but carriers often make decisions that are not in drivers’ best interests.
Finally, 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.
What to Watch Out For
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 uncomfortable or guilty about filing a legal claim against their carrier. However, it’s important to remember that insurance companies and the agents who work for them 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.
Filing a Legal Claim Against Your Insurance Carrier: Frequently Asked Questions
- Can insurance companies cancel coverage or increase premiums for customers who file a legal claim against them? 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 disputes over who is responsible for an auto accident, can access to both parties’ driving records help the shared company decide the case? Accident history is not usually a factor that carriers consider when determining who is at fault or how much compensation a victim is entitled to receive. However, a driver’s accident history may be relevant in cases that involve additional elements, such as the negligent hiring of an employee who caused a motor vehicle accident.
- Is there a conflict of interest when the same insurance company insures both drivers involved in an auto accident? There should be no conflict of interest because the customer’s claim is against the at-fault driver’s liability policy. Insurance companies have a legal duty to investigate the accident properly and fairly, even if it insures both drivers involved. During the investigation, the carrier will issue each driver a separate claims adjuster. If there is a legal case, the carrier will also assign different attorneys to represent them.
- If both drivers share the same insurance agent, does this affect how the claim is handled? Sharing an insurance agent should not affect the claims process. Just as the carrier has a legal duty to examine the accident impartially, agents must handle the claim against the at-fault driver’s policy the same way they would as if it involved a different company or agent.
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 personal injury 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.