Auto Insurance Claims/Minor Scratch

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Question
Hi,

A few hours ago, my car was parked in a parking lot shared by two businesses at my work.  It was parked in an outer tandem spot.  I received a call from a co-worker who was outside smoking that someone had hit my car.  Apparently, someone from the business next door was trying to pull into their side of the lot and had backed into my car, leaving a 6 inch dent and a scrape on my VW Beetle back bumper.  I spoke with the driver, who at first insisted it was no big deal, but I explained that although the damage was small, I still wanted it fixed.  (my Beetle is my baby).  He agreed to give me his info and his proof of insurance.  As he handed me his insurance card, I noticed it was expired.  He proceeded to hand me more cards, all of them from various time periods dating back to 2008, and it seemed he had been consistently insured but just did not have the most current one on him.

I proceeded to take all the information from his insurance company as well as his name, number, address, plate and Vin.  He stated that since it was minor he would just pay for it if I got him an estimate and not go through insurance.  I've never dealt with this before, since he was clearly at fault and there was a witness who saw it.  Is this something I negotiate directly with him or do I call my insurance company and file a claim regardless?

Also, being that my car is a VW, my normal mechanic recommended I go through the dealership, since they would have to custom order anything required to fix my car cosmetically.  Is it safe to do a private negotiation or simply file a claim?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Answer
Hi Ernesto,

It is ok to negotiate with the other party. First you should go to a body shop and get an estimate of the cost of repairs. Also ask how many days it will take to do the repairs. Then also call or go to a car rental agency and get a written quote for a rental car for the number of days your car will be in the shop.

Body work is more expensive than most people think. In most cases when you should the other guy the estimate and then also remind him that he will owe you for the cost of a rental car as well, he will decide to have you file a claim on his insurance. If he agrees to pay you should have him pay in cash. If he gives you a check you should go to the bank it is drawn on to cash it as soon as possible. Then one you have the money in hand, you can go get your car repaired.

If he give you any trouble at all, just file a claim on his insurance.

I hope this helps
Richard Hixenbaugh

Auto Insurance Claims

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Richard Hixenbaugh

Expertise

Auto insurance claims procedure, auto coverage, liability issues, auto damage questions, how to deal with the insurance company, loss of use and diminished value.

Experience

I have been involved in the insurance industry for over 25 years. I have experience in underwriting, sales, claims adjusting, auto damage estimating, auto value appraising and diminished value appraising. I have testified as an expert witness over 35 times.

Organizations
Society of Certified Auto Appraisers

Education/Credentials
Completed all required courses for the Florida Property-Casualty agents license and the Florida claims adjusters license. I have attended various courses on auto damage estmating, vehicle appraising and am ASE certified in collision damage analysis.

Past/Present Clients
My company has done work for consumers nationwide.

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