Got in a car accident - what will his insurance cover?

Long story short, I was involved in an accident yesterday on the way home from work. The officer on scene found him at fault and he was issued a ticket. While waiting for the official report, I figured I’d do a little bit of research as to what I can realistically expect. The damage occurred to my rear, driver-side wheel/tire. The wheel has some minor scratches in the metal but the tire has pieces of rubber (predominantly focused around the raised letter portion of the tire) hanging off.

My questions: Obviously the tire will need to be replaced, but can I expect to be compensated a full set of new tires or are they only going to pay to replace that one? My fear is that one new tire won’t do me any good if it has it’s full tread and the others do not (there is a reason you replace all tires at once, after all). Can I realistically argue that such compensation is absurd and that an equal set of tires are needed? Also, the wheel damages are minor, but could I also realistically request compensation for the value of a new wheel?

I don’t want to get dicked around here but I’ve heard horror stories and I find anything less than an absolute replacement ridiculous in this situation.

Thank you.

No, you can’t argue for a new set. You are only entitled to repair of what was broken. When the other tires wear down you will only be replacing 3 of them. And no on the new wheel. A used replacement or the cash equivalent is what you should expect.

Yes, basically they make you whole by restoring your car to the equivalent condition it was in prior to the loss (or equivalent compensation), not to brand new condition. If you get one brand new tire you are economically at least as well off as before the accident.

It is not strictly necessary to replace all four tires at once, although that is often advised for four-wheel drive vehicles. It is not even necessary to replace both tires on the same axle. Once I had a sidewall puncture and the tire shop gladly replaced a single tire.

It is absolutely necessary to replace all four tires at once on many all-wheel drive vehicles, notably Subarus. These have extremely sensitive limited slip differentials that will wear prematurely if there are even slight differences in circumference. It can also cause problems on 2wd vehicles with limited slip differentials if the two tires on the driven axle don’t match.

I don’t know how far you’d get arguing with the insurance company if you had one of these cars and all 4 tires were at 80% or so before. I’ve heard some tire shops have the ability to shave the tread off a new tire to make them match the other three, but I’ve never seen it.

Be prepared to be patient and stubborn. His insurance company will probably want to send a claims adjuster over to document the damage, if your insurance company gets involved they may want to do the same. Make sure to get everything in writing (don’t agree to anything until you are satisfied that it’s what you really want) including any conversations, phone calls, etc. you have. If it’s just a messed-up tire and some cosmetic damage to the wheel you probably won’t have to go through getting estimates from multiple repair shops but you may want to have a mechanic check out your car to make sure there’s no other damage (bent panel, something whacked out of alignment, etc).

I got hit a few years ago (driver ran into a line of stopped cars in broad daylight with a CHP officer right next to me) and what was basically minor body damage (had to replace my bumper and tailgate and get some panels painted) took a year of constant badgering on my part to get her insurance company to pay up.

As far as getting multiple tires replaced I can see that would be a tough sell, although if a mechanic were to state that it would be potentially unsafe to operate the vehicle with dissimilar tires then that might help your claim.

I always thought that reason was because it’s about four times as lucrative to the tire vendor as replacing only the one that’s flat.

They won’t replace the damaged tire with a new tire, they will replace it with a used tire that is in the same condition as the damaged tire before the accident. What you want by demanding 4 new tires is called betterment and insurance companies very rarely will agree to it. Also, unless the wheel on your car was new, you will very likely get a used wheel too. A lot also depends on which insurance company you go through for compensation, your’s is more likely to be more generous than the other person’s.

Unfortunately if you want more replaced than is obviously damaged, you’re going to have to have more than your own sense of what’s reasonable to get it. Maybe your own insurance will be willing to do an inspection but if not you might have to pay your own mechanic to take a look and put in writing what he thinks your car needs. Either way you’re going to need documentation.

I used to have a girl who worked for me part time and her full time job was with Allstate.

She told me it’s all pretty much computerized. They will put in the info and the computer spits out all your going to get.

She told me if you want to appeal you can but it’s important to be nice, because anyone during the appeals process that gets miffed at you can just cut you off and you’re just stuck at the minimum the computer says you should get for the type of accident you had.

By the way if you’re in a suing mood you could sue the driver that hit you in a civil suit in hopes to get new tires. Of course that doesn’t mean you’d win anything, but it’s an option you have.

That was my initial thought. It’s a 4 wheel drive and I’ve rotated the tires every time I’ve changed my oil (5,000 mile increments) - I’ve basically babied this car and followed the manufacturer’s specifications and I’d hate to see it go to waste. The tire obviously needs to be replaced and if they’re going to compensate me only for one tire (that has about 75% of it’s tread still on there) then that means I’m going to have to buy an entire new seat - which I frankly don’t want to do right now.

If they can furnish a new tire and remove the same amount of tread fantastic. I just want my car back to the way it was before the accident at no cost to myself. I’m just miffed that I have to buy an entire new set of tires because this db hit me. The claims adjuster should be coming out in the next few days so I’ll wait and see.

You would have to come up with rational explanation as to why 100% tread against 3 tires of 75% tread would be detrimental. Do you check your tire pressure every day to make sure each tire is at it’s correct pressure? Of course not. There is nothing to be gained by having each tire matched so precisely. If you pursue this you’ll end up with a used tire and rim from the insurance company. Take the new one if you can get it.

2 things:

  1. minor nit. the cop does not find the driver legally liable (or “at fault”) for the accident. only a finder of fact can do this. what the cop does do is find sufficient circumstances to charge the other driver with a violation of the traffic code.

  2. be wary when dealing with the opposing insurance company. their primary goal is to get you to release your claims against their customer for the lowest amount possible. be sure of the documents you sign.