Car insurance claim: at-fault driver stonewalls own carrier? To what end?

Keeping it brief:

This happened in a big-box store parking lot, but not while parked. It happened while waiting for a few cars in front of me to proceed forward so I could leave the lot. My engine was on but I was braked and stationary.

While sitting in my stopped car, the vehicle ahead of me – a pickup truck about 15 feet in front of my car – decides to back into a parking space to the left of my car’s rear bumper. He didn’t have room to clear my car. I see what’s about to happen, and lay on my horn. The truck’s driver hears nothing and gently backs into my cars bumper. His truck bumper was generally higher than my car’s nose, so the damage was somewhat indirect – a small, but deep, dent in my bumper plus scuffed and shallow dents in my hood and in my left front body panel. Headlight cover is scuffed but not cracked.

In our locale, residents are discouraged from calling police for minor traffic accidents (no injuries, no blocked traffic, vehicles still driveable). We’re supposed to exchange information and handle it through our insurance companies. OK.

At the scene, other driver was fine. We exchanged information freely and both took photos of the scene, no hang-ups or attitude. We went on our way. We didn’t talk to any witnesses (there were several) and didn’t call the police (due to policy, they may not have come or may have taken a long time to arrive**). We just left the scene after the information exchange and photos.

Two weeks later, and his insurance carrier (not a fly-by-night outfit, but a top 5 household name carrier in the U.S.) is delaying processing and payment of the claim because they say they haven’t been able to speak to him in all this time. I’ve spoken to his carrier four times since the accident – conducted two recorded interviews with their people, sent them a bunch of photos (including several showing other driver’s license plate, make, and model in the frame), and mapped out the location, placement of vehicles, etc. of the accident for them.

My question is this: Does stonewalling his own insurance company do the other driver any good? His carrier tells me they can make a determination of liability without the other driver’s input, but they want to give him 30 days to make a statement.

Anyone ever been in a situation like this? Not sure how much things vary state to state.

(Am I going through my own insurance company for the repairs? No, because the deductible is too high and the car is still driveable.)

*** I waited 3 hours in 2016 for the police to respond to a mild stopped-too-short bumper-dent accident in which I was at fault. I (and the mercifully cool other driver!) was forced to wait because I was in a work vehicle and needed a police report filed.*

I feel like stonewalling your own company is shooting yourself in the foot. Not sure why he would do this.

On the other hand, I’m not sure why you are talking to the other guy’s carrier. I’ve had a few fender benders (one at fault, one not) and I only even spoke to my own agent. In fact in both cases my agent told me to refer any call from the other guy or his carrier to him. If the other guy is at fault, your company should not be charging you a deductible, but they should be handling your case for you.

While I am saying the other driver is at fault (I was stationary, he was going reverse) … maybe his carrier will not automatically agree since there is no police report or witness statments (besides mine)?

If it’s small, he might be hoping you give up and go away. Alternatively he could be trying to hold out awhile in hopes any camera footage is wiped and then say it was your fault.

We just ran into this problem. A girl ran a red light and hit my wife, apologized profusely, said she’d cover the damages and then she talks to the cop and says my wife ran the light. There were no cameras at the intersection, so her company refused to pay up and had the nerve to rule my wife ‘85% at fault in the accident.’ and actually wants our insurance company to pay for the damages to her car. We spent two weeks tracking down witnesses and finally found a local business that had a video. Her company said that the case was closed and wouldn’t reopen it. We’re working with them now to get it resolved, but there’s a good chance we’ll end up in court. State Farm knows that we won’t get a lawyer to fight for four grand since it’ll cost us half of that just for the lawyer, so I think they’ll figure we’ll just go away. They’re a shady outfit that I won’t be dealing with again.

But I’m still not sure why you aren’t having your agent handle your case. That’s part of their job. When I had my at-fault accident, I scratched another car squeezing past them. Minor damage to their car, almost none to mine. My agent handled contacting the other guys agent for me. When I was asked if I needed any repairs to my car, I said no, and that was the end of it. No deductible to pay, nothing. You don’t have to have your car repaired just because you asked your agent to do his job and handle your case.

“The agent” meaning:

a) a representative of the insurance agency that sold me the policy? Or
b) a representative of my insurance carrier itself?

We’ve had two not-at-fault accident since 2013. Both times, everything was handled through the insurance companies, no muss, no fuss. But nobody that I would call my “insurance agent” was involved.

What I think of as the “insurance agent” is basically a seller of insurance policies. Just got off the phone with them, and they said, in short “Not our job – call your carrier and their carrier”. :frowning:

LOL, sorry if I used a wrong word.

I meant agent as in a representative or employee from your insurance company. You say you’ve spoken to someone from his carrier 4 times. I have never spoken to the representatives of the other persons insurance company. Someone from my company did that in both my at-fault and my not at-fault accidents. I was wondering why a representative from your company is not contacting the other person’s company on your behalf.

Interesting. My carrier is State Farm and my agent is a State Farm agent. They are of the same company. This is the same as when I had Farmer’s Insurance in the past. Perhaps I don’t understand how some other agent/carrier relationships work?

Maybe because I am not proceeding with the repairs? I am not sure.

This is the first time I’ve ever had an auto insurance claim go sideways like this. I had a very similar situation last summer where someone backed into my car while I was parked and sitting in it. In fact, that driver had the same insurance carrier that my current “other driver” has. Same company, two different outcomes – I guess it comes down to how much the other driver cooperates.

Yes, about five years ago, my daughter was rear-ended while she was stopped at a red light. About a month of silence, we were informed that the other driver’s insurance carrier was denying the claim because their policyholder would not respond to letters or phone calls.

At that point, our insurance carrier said they would handle it. I’m not sure what they did, but the claim was eventually paid. I should add that my daughter’s car had collision coverage, so our carrier had some motivation to go after the other guy’s insurer—they would have been on the hook otherwise. If my daughter was uninsured, or had only the minimum required liability coverage, the stonewalling strategy might actually have worked.

With Progressive, there is no agent – just a bank of claims reps and adjusters that I access via a toll-free number. The Progressive “claims adjuster” (yes, that it the person’s title) never even came out to look at my vehicle. They just spoke to me over the phone. Didn’t even ask for the photos I took.

Some insurance companies do have local offices through which I can buy a policy from that one company – State Farm is an example. Far more common locally, though, is the cafeteria-style insurance sellers from which you can choose auto/home/etc. insurance from dozens of different carriers. I don’t think I can buy a State Farm policy from one of those places, but I can buy a policy provided by Progressive, GEICO, Farmers, and many others.

Did you she have to pay a deductible first before your daughter’s collision coverage would pay for the repair? IOW, did she pay the deductible, let her own collision cover the repair, and then sit back and let her insurance company go against the other driver’s carrier to reimburse them for the claim?

The other driver is risking voiding his coverage by non-cooperation. Usually, an insurer in a small case like this will pay your claim even if their insured isn’t getting back to them, but they do have an out. I’d suggest you tell the insurance company they either have to pay the claim pronto, or you’ll have no choice but to file a lawsuit against their insured. Also, you can contact him directly and tell him “I don’t want to have to file suit, but your insurance company says they’re not paying the claim because they haven’t been able to speak with you. I’ll give you guys five days to work it out.”

My memory of that whole mess is already a bit hazy, but no, there was no deductible applied and her collision coverage wasn’t used. The other driver’s carrier was somehow induced to pay up.

I think at this point, I’d go to the police station and fill out an accident report. Send that, with everything else you have to your insurance company. Let your insurance company handle it. If you still get nothing back, go to a dealership and get a quote on fixing the car (make sure it’s for all the parts that got damaged in any way). Write up a letter to state that you are requesting a check in that amount (include a copy of the quote) to be paid to you within X days. After that, take him to small claims court.
It wouldn’t surprise me if he suddenly showed up and paid you.

If you were to go that route, don’t tell him you’ll sue him or mention it in the letter, just ask for the money to fix your car and if he still refuses, file the paperwork at the courthouse and have him served.
But still, call up your insurance company and tell them what happened. I wouldn’t even mention anything to them about you dealing with his insurance company already. Just file the claim and see what happens.

Too late – I’ve been in communication with my insurance company the whole time. What I thought was normal procedure (and what I have done for past accidents) is to call both insurance companies (mine and the other driver’s) ASAP after the accident.

IMO, it just depends on the circumstances. For example, when I got in a parking lot fender bender, I only contacted their insurance company (it was their fault). I just did see any reason for my insurance company to even be aware of it. But I can’t see how you’ll hurt anything by contacting both.

In any case, call your insurance company today and tell them you just want to get an update since ‘it’s been so long’ and you still ‘have no idea what’s going on’. Then call them back two or three times a week.
Also, check your insurance contract and see if there’s anything in there. I can glance at mine later (I’d assume they’re all pretty similar). There may be a clause in there about what happens if the other party doesn’t respond.

You did the right thing. If you believe the other guy to be at fault, his carrier should pay. Yours HAS to pay for your car (if you have collision coverage) if you tell them to, but very few companies will waive your deductible–it’s part of your contract: you pay the deductible, they pay the rest.

The other guy is being a dumbass. As noted, he is risking voiding his coverage by not cooperating with his insurance company (although when push comes to shove he can probably get the coverage reinstated pretty easily). Maybe he’s just hoping you go away, maybe he’s unaware of a claim because his company doesn’t have a good phone number for him. Other company is basically giving him 30 days to present his side of the story if he wants to contest liability, or if he wants to say he wasn’t driving, etc.

The word you’re looking for is adjuster.