Property & Casualty Insurance/Rear Bumper Damaged From Vehicle Behind
Hello Mr. Williams,
On 12-1-15, at night in bumper to bumper traffic, an automobile behind me struck my Jeep's rear bumper. My lights and directional signals were and are working properly. My bumper was dented in about two inches but there is no other visible damage to my vehicle above or behind my rear bumper. After the accident, my lights and directional signals are all continuing to work properly, although there was considerable damage to the other driver's front grill, radiator frame/housing, and entire hood. There was another adult and a child in the car with the other driver but no admitted injuries to none.
After writing down the name, personal telephone number, and license plate number of the driver behind me, we both pulled off of the street into a fast food restaurant parking lot about fifty feet away where the driver of the car behind me gave me their personal and work address, work telephone number, insurance agency name, agency telephone number, and policy number. Since there were no admitted injuries to anyone involved, I did not call for a police report. The driver asked to pay my damages out of their own pocket once I get a few estimates and they will be calling me back by evening of 12-7-15. They also asked me if I would not call their auto insurance agency which they listed.
There are four questions:
1. Should both I and/or the other driver have called police for a report and left our vehicles in the street, even with this minor of damage and no admitted injuries?
2. Will not having a police report filed jeopardize or nullify my right to receive damage payment from this other driver in the future?
3. After damage estimates are completed, if the other driver changes mind and decides to let their insurance pay for damages, will my not having an accident report filed jeopardize or nullify my right to receive damage payment from their insurance company?
4. Do I need to have this other driver sign any type of paper(s) or form(s) after the driver and I agree to an estimate price early next week and my vehicle goes in for repair?
Thank you so much for any help.
I'm no stranger to small incidents like this. I've had one or two myself. Any incident, small or large, is never without its issues and certainly the stress and strain on your everyday life are just a couple of those issues.
I'm going to format my responses to you the same way you asked above.
1. As much of a pain in the rear (no pun intended) as it can be, I'm a firm believer in making sure the police are called. One of the primary reasons is documentation of the facts. When no police report is filed it becomes your word agains theirs. Believe it or not, when I was an agent I had a customer in the same situation. After the exchange of information, the person that hit them in the rear started claiming that my customer backed into them and was at fault! At the same time, these can be very easy to resolve when both parties are completely honest. In addition, even with a police report, injuries can pop up within a couple days. I'm a big fan of the old saying: "better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it."
2. Not having the report should not be a factor in whether or not you can get paid for your damages. That said, I would point back to my response to 1 above.
3. What I normally find is that people do not realize how much it costs to repair damage to a car. More than likely, once they see the estimate on your Jeep they will decide that they want their company to pay. They can turn in the claim and it should not affect the settlement and repairs for your vehicle...in most cases. I state that qualifier because I have seen a few unscrupulous companies deny the claim for their at fault insured. Every policy has conditions that must be met after a loss. Two in particular come to mind: 1) giving prompt notice; and 2) not admitting fault. The company is entitled to notice after the accident so that they can properly investigate and determine if their insured was actually at fault. Obviously, the police report is the documentation that usually looked at. Not complying with the conditions after a loss COULD result in denial of the claim. I stress could because I have rarely seen it happen, but when it does, it's usually a low-budget insurance company.
4. I think having some sort of documentation...an email or letter, etc. from the other driver is always advisable. If you end up having to go to small claims court, having that will bolster your case. At the end of the day, your vehicle needs to be repaired. I wouldn't let it stand in the way of getting it fixed, but I would certainly want something.
I hope that helps a little. Please feel free to ask any additional questions that you have.
Best of luck to you.