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Rear-ended someone... car repair/insurance questions

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Today I rear ended someone.  I wasn't speeding, texting or anything else, but suddenly traffic was at a standstill and I slammed on my brakes, and felt impact.  I've never had anything like this in many years of driving!  I pulled over and so did the car in front of me.  His bumper looked scratched, but not dented.  I'm not sure if it was scratched prior; seemed an older car.  My car wasn't smashed but definitely damaged -- the hood is jarred slightly out of place and is scratched in front. 


So thinking that it must be my fault if I rear-ended him - even though I'm pretty sure he slammed on his brakes - I figured we'd be either calling police, or exchanging insurance info.  I just dreaded the whole process, was also anxious to go pick up my son waiting at camp, and was just rather stunned at the whole thing which happened so fast (still not really sure how it happened).  I have car insurance (through my ex as part of our divorce agreement) but was just dreading the whole production.  The guy and I didn't say much, just stood looking and said, "Are you okay" (we both were, very thankfully) - we did not discuss what happened at all.  Then he said his car seems pretty okay, and looking at mine, he said that reporting it will just make my insurance go up.  I silently looked at him -- and he said something like how it's fine with him if we just leave it alone.  He asked again if I'm okay, and I asked him too.  We stood silently another moment, then he shrugged and went slowly to his car - sort of as if he'd stop if I wanted to pursue anything, but as though he's prefer not to make a big deal out of it.  So I got back in my car.  He drove off.  Then I did too (it drives okay, just looks bad).  No doubt we were supposed to file a report, or exchange info or something.  But if he didn't care (I'm thinking he probably didn't have car insurance so didn't want to call the police or anything!) then I had no incentive to file anything, as it probably technically would be my fault.  I did silently note his licence plate # however, and wrote it once I was back in my car.


So I'm not sure if I just got really lucky that he was so low-key about it, or if I was stupid, or what.  At any rate, I have to get my car fixed and even if we'd reported the whole thing, I'm pretty dang sure the insurance company wouldn't pay for my car repair costs anyhow (seeing as I was the one who rear-ended someone).  So I'm thinking all they would do is jack up my rates, yay.  So:


- In this circumstance, would you bother reporting it to your car insurance company?  There is no police report and I don't see how the guy could report something if he never took my info or even exchanged names.


- So next step is I have to have my car repaired, I'm sure that will be fun.  So I'll get estimates.  Will an auto-body shop think it's weird or suspicious if I want to pay out of pocket and keep insurance out of it?  I'm sure they don't care but don't want them asking me if I filed a report and all that stuff.  I just want the darn thing fixed.


- And if any of you had to have the front of your cars repaired after small collision... what did it cost you?  (I know it varies widely.)


Sigh.  I know this was long, thanks for reading!

post #2 of 8

I would ask around local body shops to quote you for the cost of repair.  You may be suprised on how much it could add up to being.  You totally have the right to not use your insurance, we did it once when we had some work that needed to be done.  Our deductible would have been higher anyway and really didnt want the insurance to know as it might affect our premiums.  We sucked it up and paid cash.  The garages we visited didnt blink an eye.    my only concern here would be if the driver of the other car reported something to your insurance later on down the road.  Perhaps in a few days he feels there is damage or claims something.  Just as you easily got his license plate he could have gotten yours.  Most states have databases that allow insurance companies to look up your info (if your state mandate insurance they most likely do) that is the way we found our hit and run driver that totalled our vehicle. 

post #3 of 8

Yes, it is legally your fault, regardless of how careful you were being or how stupid he was being (not saying that is the case, just sayin'). That's how rear-endings work, because you're supposed to keep a "safe following distance" from the car in front of you. So whether or not your insurance will cover it depends on whether or not you have collision coverage. If you just have liability coverage, you're out of luck. If you have collision, they will pay for it, minus the deductible, and yes, they will increase your rates next time it is renewed. If your ex is paying for it, you may or may not care about that. And no, body shops aren't going to think it's weird at all that you want to keep your insurance out of it. Trust me, my family has had a lot of accidents! All the shop cares about is that *somebody* pays. I'm not 100% sure if your insurance will care that you didn't file a police report. If you want to file a claim, they will want to know the other guy's license plate number and other details about his vehicle, and they will probably try to track him down to verify that the accident did indeed happen, and that it was indeed your fault.


I recently had the front of my car repaired as a result of two separate collisions (over a year apart) - one with another car, another with road debris. According to the paperwork from my insurance company (I did file a claim, and was at fault for one of the incidents - the other was road debris and covered by my comprehensive coverage) it cost about $1800, if I am reading the paperwork correctly. (I paid $500 after insurance.) If you don't care much what your car looks like, you can save money by not having it repainted, as that is labor-intensive and therefore costly. (On the other hand, if you don't care what your car looks like, you might not have to repair it at all - my car didn't have any damage that really impaired functionality, other than some slightly askew headlights.)


HTH, and good luck - I hate dealing with car issues!

post #4 of 8
I wouldnt report it. I'd take it and get it fixed somewhere. It was your fault, legally and if he doesnt care then you dont need to file a report.
post #5 of 8
Get a few estimates and see how that compares to your deductible. DH was in a re collision that cost 9k in damage to our car, and our rates did not go up. Maybe because we hadn't had an accident in some time?
post #6 of 8

Some car insurance companies have "accident forgiveness" which can keep your rates from going up. But it's good to ask questions about how those policies work - we had "small accident forgiveness" with our insurance company (Progressive), and I considered the accident my car was in to be pretty small. But apparently the limit for "small" with Progressive is less than $500 total paid out for the entire accident. Ouch. We probably wouldn't have done an insurance claim if we'd known that. Our rates jumped by about $200/6 months. Rates at a couple of the other companies we considered were even higher. But we actually got a rate from Geico (for the same coverage), that was lower than what we'd been paying Progressive pre-accident. So it all really depends. If you do have coverage and decide to file a claim, MissLotus, and they raise your rates, definitely look around - you might find better rates elsewhere. (I know, I sound like a Geico commercial - we saved 15% or more! But we really did. And other than the rate-raising, we have had excellent customer service from Progressive. I was sad to leave, but money is money!)

post #7 of 8
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

I wouldnt report it. I'd take it and get it fixed somewhere. It was your fault, legally and if he doesnt care then you dont need to file a report.

yeahthat.gif I was in a minor accident that was the other person's fault (turned left with no left turn signal into the side of my car), but yet I was found 30% at fault (???) because my state splits liability. There was enough damage that insurance was involved, but if I ever have another minor accident where I don't need to involve insurance, I won't.

post #8 of 8

I agree with everyone else. You were at fault, b/c that's how the laws work. Even if he slammed on the brakes to avoid a butterfly, you were still close enough/not paying attention enough to end up hitting him.


Get some estimates, and decide if it's worth it to you to pay to fix it or to file. I've had a few "accidents"  (with minor damage like you are describing (due to ice) and we all just laughed it off as what bumpers where made for and I fixed the damage to my car privately. It's not a big deal. The guy who left is just as liable as you are if there is some law about leaving an accident scene in your state.

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