What Are the Out-of-Pocket Costs After an At-Fault Car Accident?
Being involved in a car accident is traumatic. Even in a minor fender-bender where no one is injured, the damage to your vehicle is ultimately a punch in the gut, regardless of the extent. This is a stressful occurrence for anyone, especially if there’s clearly one party at fault. Here’s what you need to consider if you’re at fault in a car accident:
What to Do
In the initial moments following an accident, emotions and thoughts swirl through your head. Checking on the welfare of all involved is the first order of business. Render aid if you’re trained to do so, and make certain first responders are on the way. If possible, try to move vehicles safely out of the way of traffic. Law enforcement will collect information from all parties and exchange information in the form of an accident report. It’s important to remember that you should be making observations of the accident scene and documenting as much as you can. This information may be useful in the aftermath of the collision. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible, ideally when law enforcement is on the way.
Where the Blame Falls
Even if you’re clearly at fault, don’t apologize or otherwise verbally take the blame in a minor collision. Many states have no-fault insurance requirements, but that doesn’t mean blame isn’t assigned, especially if you verbally confirm it. The blame will typically fall on the driver causing the accident, and their liability insurance will be responsible for paying for the costs incurred by the other driver. The majority of states that are considered “no-fault” still require that all drivers carry Personal Injury Protection or PIP. PIP is a liability insurance that provides coverage for medical costs and lost wages regardless of who caused the accident.
The next phase of the shock following an accident is considering the costs of everything from vehicle repair to medical costs and lost wages. Your responsibility for out-of-pocket expenses will be to pay the deductible amount of your policy if your car has been damaged in the accident. Your liability insurance will cover the costs for the other driver’s vehicles and medical costs and/or lost wages. For example, if repairs to your vehicle total $3,000 and your deductible is $750, then you’re responsible for paying $750, and your insurance company pays the balance of $2,250. Keep in mind that if you’re found to be at fault for the accident, your car insurance premium will increase, so your bill will rise, sometimes as much as 50%.
There is no way to predict how another person will react to being involved in a car accident where their property or body are seriously injured. While your insurance should provide payment for most approved losses, be aware that any litigation settlement may require you to pay for additional damages. Insurance will not cover these types of cases under normal circumstances.
Having the right type and appropriate amount of car insurance is the key to protection against facing a financial tragedy resulting from a car accident. Consider the premium costs, the actual amount of coverage and deductible responsibilities. Check out the top 50 insurance companies all in one convenient location! Nsure is a user-friendly app that makes comparisons easy to understand, helping you make the best possible choices for auto insurance.