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hominid's avatar

How should I proceed after getting in an accident?

Asked by hominid (7347points) February 25th, 2015

I was stopped at a cross walk in a school, and a car hit me from behind. The driver and I exchanged info, and he asked if we could skip the insurance and pay directly. I said that I needed to talk to talk to someone first and I would contact him.

Relevant info: my car is a 2015 Honda Fit that has 5100 miles on it. There was damage to the bumper (small crack and the whole right side is pushed up/out). I have a clean driving record. I live in Massachusetts.

What are the pros/cons to skipping the insurance route? What if I did contact my insurance company? Would it end up hurting me? Would my car end up as having been in an accident (carfax)?

Any advice? Thanks!

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21 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

My guess is he doesn’t have insurance. He’s trying to avoid getting in trouble with the law.

However, it sounds like the damage is relatively minor. Maybe you could find replacement bumper at salvage, or on the internet somewhere.

janbb's avatar

You should probably get at least one estimate for the damage before committing to either route. If you have an agent, you can call and discuss with them whether it makes sense to report it. as the person who was hit, there is probably not much advantage to you not to report it but your agent can advise after you get an estimate.

Your hitter may be wanting to avoid going through insurance so his rates don’t go up; it does not necessarily mean that he doesn’t have any. Did he give you an insurance I.D. or company name with his insurance?

I personally wouldn’t worry about the record of your 2015 car being in an accident.

hominid's avatar

The kid is 16 years old. His father was the one who called and suggested that we skip the insurance. Note: They are not hurting for money. Their house (I zillowed the address) is valued at $799k, not that it matters. But if it’s a $1000 repair, I’m sure the dad would rather take care of it rather than it end up on his son’s record.

I spoke with a family member, and he recommend that I go this route. Now, to talk to this kid’s dad and find a local car body shop.


I don’t have the time for this.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So are they willing to pay 100%?

janbb's avatar

@hominid Sure – that’s it. They don’t want it on the kid’s record. Sounds like the way to go.

jerv's avatar

I myself have skipped the paperwork when I got my front end smashed by the son of someone who owned a garage/body shop.

My opinion is that so long as the car gets fixed, you should be content. Mistakes happen, and if he’s willing to own up to it and make things right, there is no need to punish him with increased premiums and a blemished record. Involving police and/or insurance should be reserved for those unwilling/unable to pay.

jca's avatar

This happened to me twice. Once, I was in Costco and when I left, a lady came running over to me and told me she was Costco security. She said a guy was with his little son, the son was pushing the shopping cart and lost control, and the cart hit my car. Long story short, she got the father’s info, I got in touch with him and he wanted me to take the car to one of his friends’ shops for body work. Luckily I was with my mom who advocated for me at that time. She said no, she’s (me) not going to take it to your friend, you’re going to pay her what the estimate says (which was $400 – this was about 15 years ago). The dad gave me the money. I forgot at this point whether it was cash or check. Probably cash.

About two months ago, I was in a fender bender where I hit the car in front of me. The details are too tedious to tell here, but it was definitely my fault and I was very apologetic. A few phone calls back and forth with the lady I hit and she got an estimate from her body shop (about $400 or something similar), I met her at a Dunkin Donuts, gave her a check and was very grateful she didn’t decide to take me to the cleaners with her body work. She had an Escalade that was a few years old. The damage was relatively minor but if she were unscrupulous, I would have had a fight on my hands.

I’d say for you, @hominid, talk to the dad and see how he wants to handle it. He may say get one estimate, he may say get two. Whatever. He shouldn’t give you a hard time about the money. It sounds like he doesn’t want it on the son’s record, or maybe, since the son is a new driver, he doesn’t want his rates to go up, or maybe his insurance really isn’t for a driver under 21.

hominid's avatar

Just spoke with the dad. He was very thankful that we could avoid insurance. I’m going to have to get a quote.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I’d just be concerned about additional problems with the car because of this accident. I don’t know how likely that is, but make sure the quote is comprehensive. If you go through your insurance and something happens later and something was missed in this repair, I’d imagine you’d still be covered. It might be hard to go back later and say, but they missed this.

I don’t know how insurance works in the US though.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Sounds like good advice above – are you sure you aren’t hurt at all? In a way that might necessitate treatment later?

hominid's avatar

@dappled_leaves – I’m OK. Thanks. Actually, I thought about how I would be able to evaluate that. I am in considerable pain most of the time. :)

It really was a pretty light hit. I stopped at the crosswalk, the woman waved a “thank you” and started to cross, but then looked behind me in horror and ran back to the curb. I looked in my mirror and it felt like 15 minutes passed before he was able to bring that thing to a stop – right into my car.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Awful. And yes, I did wonder about that. I’m not sure I’d be able to keep my sense of humour as well as you do.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Can you go to the doctor and just get checked out @hominid? Better to be safe than sorry and right now you may be operating on a bit of adrenalin too.

It might have been a light hit but a light hit in the wrong place can cause unexpected damage. I’m not trying to be a harbinger of doom and gloom. I’m just aware that sometimes there is more damage than is immediately visible.

Cupcake's avatar

Pain can take a few days to set in. Please wait 5–7 days before you agree that you have not been injured.

keobooks's avatar

My parents did this when I was a kid. The accident was minor and the price to pay for fixing the other car was cheaper than the insurance rate hike we’d have to pay if they turned the claim in. It’s not that unusual, is it?

gailcalled's avatar

Several years ago, I was the dinger and vaguely knew the dingee. It happened in a private parking lot next to the little fire house and I was luckily going about 5 mph. We agreed; she got the dings appraised and I wrote a check for $1000, which hurt, but my insurance stayed the same.

janbb's avatar

@keobooks Not rare, happens all the time. My boss was just asking me about a similar situation where his wife hit someone in a parking lot and the damage is $1,000.

ibstubro's avatar

I was once rear ended at a stoplight by a respectable business man. He wanted to keep it off his insurance and I was okay with that. As ‘insurance’ we called the police and made a report. I got an estimate, and he paid in full. Money I kept, as it was a pick-up and all it did was dent the back bumper.

I know it’s too late now, but in the future I would recommend making a police report, regardless, especially if you’re not at fault. You always have that to fall back on. I also contacted my insurance agent, informally, but never made a claim.

hominid's avatar

Got an estimate for the repair, sent it to the kid’s dad, and they’re ok with it. It’s +/- $950, plus 3 days of car rental.
Won’t be able to get the work done, however, until the end of March.

cheebdragon's avatar

My dad did that a couple of times for my brother when he was responsible for a few fender benders. It’s already expensive to cover a teenager on your auto insurance, it would sky rocket if his insurance found out.

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