Many Americans have had car insurance policies for years but have never needed to use them. They sought out excellent car insurance quotes, found a provider that met their needs and a got a great deal on a policy, but thanks to good luck and defensive driving skills, have never been in an accident. For some drivers, this can be a period of ten, twenty or even thirty years with no collisions on record. While this is a superb achievement, it can make things difficult when an inevitable accident does occur. Drivers with great records are often unsure of what to do after an accident, and do not know what kind of driver rights they have when it comes to both insurance and reporting the collision to police.
A very common occurrence after an accident is that one party (typically the one at fault) will say that they "don't want to go through insurance". This can be for a number of reasons, from the potential increase in car insurance quotes to the fact that they are uninsured or should not have been driving the vehicle. Drivers often feel stuck when this happens, and are unsure if they can now go through insurance or not. It is always one of the fundamental driver rights to go through insurance if they so desire, regardless of what the other party wants. Start by asking the other driver for their information. They have a legal obligation to provide it, even if accident is never taken to an insurance company. Make sure to take down the license plate number of the other vehicle and if possible the name and phone number of the other driver. If the other driver refuses to cooperate, report the accident at a police station. This may be necessary if the damage is over a certain dollar amount, but should also be done if the other party is not forthcoming.
Once the other driver's insurance information has been obtained, it is a good idea to get estimates to have the damage on a car fixed. The driver can then be presented with the estimates and asked if they wish to pay, rather than going through insurance. If they agree, have them directly pay the body shop. Do not accept checks or promises - only cash or direct payment. If anything strange occurs or if they do not return calls, contact the insurance company.
Both drivers have the right to go through their insurance company at any time, and drivers must always remember that they cannot be compelled to avoid using their provider. Knowing driver rights after an accident will help keep costs and stress levels down.