How to File a Claim on Someone Else’s Car Insurance

If a driver causes you damages, you can file a third-party claim against their car insurance company. Compare quotes for uninsured motorist coverage to ensure protection.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: May 26, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Filing a claim on someone else’s insurance is using their liability policy
  • The process is a similar to filing one with your own
  • If the other driver has no insurance, you should file a claim with your own company
  • Living in a no-fault State makes filing third-party claims more difficult

Anytime you file a claim with another person’s insurance company, this is referred to as a “third-party claim.” These are the most frequent types of claims pursued in the United States.

As most states require drivers to withhold a liability policy, these are solely set in place to compensate damages done to a third party.

If you are the third party in an accident, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurer to expedite the process of getting compensated. In turn, your insurer may employ subrogation.

This is essentially a legal right for the insurance company to seek recovery of loss and damages caused by the other party. This includes compensation for a deductible paid by the victim.

Filing a claim with your own insurer may be useful if the other insurance company is delaying compensation or is difficult to work with. It is best to speak with your own insurance company to further discuss this type of situation.

Be prepared for the worst by carrying appropriate car insurance coverage. Enter your zip code above to get started!

Reasons to File a Third-Party Claim

Anytime you file a claim against someone else’s insurance company in which you are not the policyholder, you are considered a third party.

The Department of Motor Vehicles outlines four different circumstances in which you would file such a claim.

  • You were injured in an auto accident as a passenger. In this case, you would file a claim against the driver’s insurer for compensation of medical treatment, lost wages, and other damages
  • You were hit by another driver and not at fault. You would file a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy. However, there may be an exception to this if you live in a “No-Fault State,” in which will we discuss later in this article
  • You were injured while operating a company vehicle. Most companies have special auto insurance policies for business purposes. You would notify your company of the accident and they may file the claim for you
  • You were involved in an accident while driving your own car for work-related/business purposes. In this case, you would contact your employer’s insurance company to file a claim

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The Procedure of Filing the Claim

It is important to understand how third party car insurance claims work. At the scene of an accident, you should obtain the insurance name and policy number of the other driver.

With this information, you can independently contact that insurance company yourself to start the claim process without having to deal with the other driver. Contacting their insurance company should be done immediately.

Failing to do this could result in a denied claim.

Just with any insurance claim, you will work with a claim representative one on one that will take you through the entire process. A verbal notice followed by a written letter may be sufficient for the claim to be successful.

However, all companies have their own policies and procedures.

The rep may ask you several questions regarding the accident and may possibly request photos. Make sure you keep track of all medical bills, police reports, and expenses related to the damages.

It is important to promptly answer all emails and phone calls by the rep. A lack of communication may cause the claim to be denied.

Once all information has been provided, the insurer will use their discretion to approve the claim.

What if the person at fault has no insurance?

If the other driver at fault has no car insurance, you likely will have to file a claim with your own insurance company. However, this is only useful if you have enough coverage yourself. A basic liability policy will not cover your personal damages.

When shopping for car insurance you may want to consider adding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to your policy.

This protects you from drivers who do not have insurance or do not have enough insurance to cover your injuries. Some states require all drivers to add this type of coverage to their policy.

You may also want to consider adding collision coverage to pay for damages to your vehicle. This is especially useful with hit-and-run incidents. Keep in mind that collision coverage will not compensate for injury claims.

You may want to consider adding collision and uninsured/underinsured coverage to your policy for bodily injury and vehicle damage protection.

Keep in mind that certain vehicles can be more easily damaged in a crash and some are less safe than others. For instance, as covered in our article, 15 Shocking Car Insurance Claim Statistics, smaller cars like micro and mini cars resulted in higher personal injury claims, meaning you’re more likely to get hurt driving one of these vehicles.

These cars can lead to severe injuries as well. In those circumstances, you may be able to file a lawsuit. If you have suffered extensive injuries and have accumulated high amounts of medical debt, contacting an auto accident attorney may be a good option.

Living in a No-Fault State

Some states require drivers to purchase insurance that will provide personal protection. These are referred to as no-fault states.

The term “no-fault insurance” indicates that an auto insurance company will compensate for damages directly to its own policyholder regardless of whose fault the accident was.

There are currently 12 states that require no-fault insurance thus making third-party insurance claims difficult. These states also restrict rights to sue.

US states with fault systems usually enforce the liability insurance protection to protect the other driver. Third-party claims are more popular in these states. These states do not require policyholders to seek compensation from their own insurance companies first.

In some instances, if an insurance company pays out a claim to their policyholder while the other driver is at fault, they can exercise subrogation rights and seek compensation from the other driver’s insurer. In no-fault states, such practices are not common.

No-fault states usually require drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL).

Under extreme circumstances, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the driver at fault. However, the case must meet certain conditions. This can include severe pain and suffering or extensive medical bills.

Check with your state to determine your auto insurance requirements.

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The Bottom Line

Filing a claim against someone else’s car insurance company can be a smooth or difficult process depending on the situation. Treat a third-party claim just as you would a claim with your own insurance company.

Provide all requested information and keep communication with the claims representative until the case is closed. Remember, if you live in a “no-fault” state, you likely will have to file a claim with your own insurance company.

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