Car Totaled Not at Fault Idaho
Idaho Car Insurance Attorney Assisting Injury Victims with Claims for Total Losses
Getting severely hurt in a car crash in Idaho is devastating, but even a more minor collision that results in some injuries and the total loss of a motor vehicle can also be an anxiety-inducing and frustrating experience. Motor vehicle collisions happen much too often in Idaho and throughout the country. According to the Idaho Department of Transportation, there were more than 24,000 crashes in Idaho in 2015, which represented a rise in the total number of collisions in the state by more than eight percent from the previous year. In total, nearly 15,000 of those crashes resulted in property damage of more than $1,500, which was a 7.5 percent increase from the previous year. To put that figure another way, more than 60 percent of all auto accidents in Idaho resulted in a substantial amount of property damage.
Most Idaho residents who sustain significant property damage in a car accident assume that they will be able to rely on their auto insurance company for a prompt and fair payout. However, this does not always happen. As a result, Idaho residents can be left without a motor vehicle to commute to and from work, as well as for other necessary travel. When your car is totaled and it is not your fault, what do you need to know? An aggressive Idaho insurance claim lawyer can get started on your case as soon as you get in touch with our firm. At Hansen Injury Law, we know how important it is to get your insurance claim settled quickly and fairly, especially when your car has been totaled.
Steps to Take When Your Automobile Was Totaled in a Crash and the Accident Was Not Your Fault
When your car has been totaled because of another party’s negligence, you want to do everything you can to have your vehicle replaced as soon as possible. Generally speaking, the following are steps that you must take according to the Idaho Department of Insurance:
- Report the accident to the police immediately, recognizing that any property damage in excess of $1,500 must be reported under Idaho law;
- Contact your own insurance company to report the accident and the significant damage to your vehicle;
- Contact the other driver’s insurance company to report the accident and the damage;
- Make the damaged vehicle available for inspection by the insurance companies;
- Even if you believe your automobile has been totaled, you have a duty to protect the vehicle from further damage. If, for instance, you believe your car is totaled because of damage to the frame, you still have a duty to ensure that additional damage does not occur to the vehicle.
Your next step is deciding whether you are going to file a first-party claim or a third-party claim.
Pros and Cons: Deciding Whether to File a First-Party Claim or a Third-Party Claim in Idaho
When your car is totaled in Idaho, you will need to decide whether you will file your claim as a first-party claim or as a third-party claim. If you file a first-party claim, you will need to file a claim for collision or comprehensive coverage, and then your own insurance company will (ideally) pay you for the value of your totaled vehicle since the damage will exceed the worth of the car. If you file a third-party claim, the other driver’s insurance company will pay for vehicle damage, but that coverage may be insufficient to pay for the total loss. To be clear, a first-party claim refers to filing a claim with your own insurance company, while a third-party claim refers to filing with the other driver’s insurance company.
What are the pros and cons to each? If you file a first-party claim with your own insurance company, you will be required to pay the deductible in order to receive compensation from your insurer. In addition, you may see your insurance premium rise as a result. However, you may have more coverage options if you file with your own insurance company, and you may be able to obtain reimbursement for the full value of the car. If you file with the other party’s insurance company—a third-party claim—you will not be required to pay the deductible, but policy limits could mean that you do not receive a sufficient settlement for your totaled vehicle even though the accident was not your fault.
Idaho Insurance Requirements May Not Cover a Totaled Vehicle
It often sounds like a better deal—at least initially—to file a third-party claim. However, due to the minimum required amount of auto insurance under Idaho law, filing a third-party claim could leave you with inadequate compensation for your total loss. Let us explain a bit more. Idaho Code § 49-1229 states that the following are the minimum insurance amounts for liability that every driver must carry:
- Bodily injury to one person in a single accident: $25,000;
- Total bodily injury to two or more people in a single accident: $50,000; and
- Property damage: $15,000.
For most Idaho residents, the loss when a motor vehicle is totaled exceeds $15,000. As such, filing a third-party claim through the other driver’s insurance company could mean that you only receive up to $15,000. And if more than one vehicle was damaged or totaled in a single accident—for example, if the at-fault driver totaled your car and another person’s vehicle—then you may end up with compensation of significantly less than you would need to replace your totaled vehicle.
Seek Advice from an Idaho Attorney for Car Totaled Not at Fault
When your car is totaled because of another driver’s reckless or careless behavior, you should not have to pay the price. However, filing an insurance claim for a totaled vehicle can be complicated. There are pros and cons to filing both first-party and third-party claims, and you should be sure to discuss your case with an experienced car totaled not at fault attorney in Idaho as soon as possible. Contact Hansen Injury Law to learn more about how we can assist with your claim.