You can choose which insurance company to use if you are not at fault for the accident.
So if somebody else is at fault, you are going to have a choice about which insurance company you are going to go through to get your car fixed. There are pros and cons to each one:
Going Through Your Own Insurance
You could go through your own insurance company. You are paying for that insurance and they have a contract to provide you with coverage. If you have comprehensive and collision coverage on your vehicle, you have been paying for that every month.
However if you only have liability coverage on your vehicle, you will not have the choice. You will have to go through the at-fault driver's insurance.
If you go through your own, they owe you through what is outlined in your insurance policy. This means that your deductible will apply.
Most people have a $500 deductible on their policy which means that your insurance will pay the total cost of repair to your vehicle minus the deductible amount.
The deductible amount of $500 would be your responsibility.
So, the pro of going through your own insurance: it's a little quicker and little easier because there is no question about liability before the claim is paid.
The con of going through your own insurance: you have to pay the deductible.
Going Through the Other Parties Insurance
When you go through the other parties insurance, they will need to make a liability determination first.
If their insured admits that they were at fault, it make things a little quicker, but if they don't then you have to wait for a police report and a recorded statement.
This process may take a week or two for the other insurance company to admit that they are at fault for the accident. Once they do though the advantage is that now you don't have to come up with the deductible.
They owe you money to fix your car through tort. A tort is a civil wrong that means when we don't have a contractual relationship but one person owes a legal duty to another, that is a tort.
So, the con of going through the at-fault insurance: it takes longer.
The pro of going through the at-fault insurance: there is no deductible.
However if you do go through your own insurance, when it is determined that you are not at-fault, your insurance company will reimburse you the amount of your deductible.
This happens because the at-fault insurance company has paid your insurance company back the amount that they paid for your expenses.
Will Going Through My Own Insurance Cause my Premium to go up?
Some people might ask, "Why would I go through my own insurance company? This will cause my premiums to go up."
Premiums go up based on fault. The insurance company is trying to assess future risk. They don't go up based on claims.
If you make a claim and you are not at fault for the accident, your insurance will likely not to go up.
That's because your insurance company is going to get back all of the money they paid out for you from the other company.
If you have a good insurance company often times you can ask them to front the deductible.
In other words, you would not be "loaning" the amount of the deductible for the repairs because they will get that money back anyway.
Car accident attorneys can explain this idea fully.