Insurance Law/fender bender

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Question
QUESTION: Hi,
Is the offender in a fender bender obligated to pay for a rental car when the victim's car is being fixed?  Of course, two parties want to settle without the insurance company involved.

ANSWER: Maria,

If liability is established, then the cost of a rental car while repairs are being done is part and parcel of the total costs due from the negligent party. It should be for a car that is reasonably similar to the one that was damaged.

If you are negotiating a settlement with the other party without the insurance companies involvement, you may want to use that as a "negotiating tool".

Hope this helps.

Kevin Hromas
JD, EGA, RPA, PLCS, HCRI-R/C, CPIU, WINDŽ Umpire
Kevin Hromas & Associates
... A Division of US Insurance Information LLC
www.KevinHromas.com


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi,
Thank you for your previous answer.  Another question: If the parties in a fender bender go through the insurance companies will each party's insurance premium increase?
Now, if one party is the offender and his insurance pays the victim for repairs to his car will each party's insurance premium increase? or just the offender's insurance?
Thank for your answer. Maria

ANSWER: Maria,

Generally, if this is the first accident for a driver, their premiums would not automatically go up and they definitely would NOT go up for the innocent driver.

IF you have a "no claim discount" that is in effect - and many carriers have that kind of premium discount in place, then the negligent party would lose that "discount" ... which would make it look like there was an increase in premium but in reality they are just losing a discount. Again, that should not apply to the innocent driver.

Does that help?

Kevin Hromas

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi,
Again, thank you for your answer to my last question.
However, if there is a fender bender and it is determined 50/50 does each party's premium increase?  Usually, a fender bender that happens in a parking lot is considered 50/50 or can liability be established? And how?
Thank you.
Maria

Answer
Maria,

Just because the accident occurred in a parking lot does not automatically mean that each party is 50% responsible. Liability can be established based on the facts and who was in the best position to avoid the accident.

As for the premium increase ... you will need to get that information from your agent as each and every insurance company has different underwriting standards. Under a worst-case scenario, any increase in premium would be in effect for a minimum of 3 years so you would want to take that additional cost into consideration when thinking about how much something is worth in a negotiated settlement.

Kevin

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Kevin Hromas

Expertise

I am a licensed, executive general adjuster currently holding a Texas resident P&C license (614250), New Mexico non-resident all lines license (248774), Oklahoma non-resident P/F/M license (A299561), Florida non-resident P&C license (E117051) and a National Flood Insurance Program certification (06040100). My areas of expertise involve property and casualty issues in both residential and commercial policies with regards to claims practices and issues. I deal extensively with Lloyd's of London commercial policies and various domestic carriers for residential policies.

Experience

After a 20 year career as a General Contractor, I was employed by Allstate Insurance as an adjuster in Texas, holding various postitions within the property claims department. After leaving Allstate, I specialized in handling losses associated with major catastrophes through-out the country. (Hurricanes Isabel, Charlie, Wilma, Katrina, Ike, etc., hail storms, floods.) I am currently retained as an expert by multiple insurance defense firms in Texas for issues in litigation. I am also a certified Umpire for formal appraisals.

Organizations
Member - Society of Registered Professional Adjusters Fellow - Council on Litigation Management Member - Property and Casualty Association Member - Texas Independent Insurances Adjusters Association Member - National Association of independent Insurance Adjusters Member - Houston Claims Association

Publications
Claims Magazine (www.ClaimsMag.com and then search 'Kevin Hromas' for a full listing of articles and quotes.) www.ClaimsPages.com, www.ProAdjuster.org, www.KevinHromas.com

Education/Credentials
JD - University of Houston Law Center - 1992 BA - Southwest Texas State University - 1980 AA - South Plains College - 1977 PLCS - Personal Lines Coverage Specialist

Past/Present Clients
Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, Fulbright & Jaworski (Law Firm), Bracket & Ellis (Law Firm) Thamm & O'Briant (Law Firm) Sheehy, Ware & Pappas (Law Firm) Walker, Wilcox and Matousek (Law Firm) Financial Guarantee Underwriters

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