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I drive a 2009 Camry and was rammed from behind by a SUV last evening.

Had to brake hard in order not to hit the car in front of me that sharply braked and turned right without signalling at a unmonitored intersection.

My airbags did not deploy but my glasses came off and got damaged. The oscilloscope and other instruments I carry in my trunk were trashed too. (I will pay for these myself because SUV owner was a perfect lady)

The SUV owner was a perfect lady and she owned up her mistake in front of a cop who arrived at the incident.

Her's was a beautiful pink Cadillac SUV, and was very well built to suffer no damage (as inspected by the cop).

However, I don't know why but the cop refused to give me a report number to use in my filing.

Anyways, my "current Century" insurance company told me I would have to pay a $1.5k deductible and my premiums would go up by $150/mo (I pay around $250/mo as I arrived in the U.S. recently and have no substantial driving or credit record).

Furthermore, they want me to visit any of 5 locations they emailed me for an inspection and appraisal of damages.

The state the car is in, the rear bumper and brake lights are all smashed out (but lights work) and I am sure they will deterioate completely enroute!

I did share this information with them, but they asked me if the wheels were obstructed, and since they are not, I am out of luck.

My questions are these:

  1. Is it normal to pay such a high deductible when you are not at fault (when shopping around initially, my insurance agent had assured me that this plan was expensive because of the low deductible it had).

    Which section should I read in my insurance contract to find out and understand this?

  2. Why would my premiums go up even if I was at no fault?

    This was a residential area and cars often trail less than 2 car distances from what I have seen

  3. Why do I need to visit a location of their choosing for inspection and appraisal of damages?

    I intend to get it repaired from Toyota, the company that designed this car, and the price they quote for repairs should be the correct price, not some 3rd party!

  4. If I use a rental car in the meantime (until the insurance companies decide what to do), is there a chance I could claim a part/whole of the expenses as incidental to the damage?

I would also be open to any related advice or information that can help me now or in the future in case of similar situations.

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Welcome to the site. Unfortunately, as I read your question, I'm not sure what actual mechanical problem you are asking us to address. Please review the FAQ for suggestions on how to best focus your inquiry on the problem that we can help you solve: mechanics.stackexchange.com/faq –  Bob Cross Apr 24 '12 at 19:58
    
@Bob Cross: This is offtopic as this does not specify mechanical problems per se. I asked on this forum under the assumption that here many people are more knowledgeable with car insurances than other forums on SE. Please recommend if I should close this –  f1StudentInUS Apr 25 '12 at 1:57
    
this should really be on the personal finance site. Migrating there. –  Bob Cross Apr 25 '12 at 11:02
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closed as off topic by Bob Cross Apr 25 '12 at 11:03

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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I don't know about the US, but I'd assume it is similar there to here in the UK. I'm also not a lawyer or insurance type person, so don't take any of this as gospel...

Here, both drivers are supposed to report it to their insurance companies. You should pass on the other driver's insurance details to your insurance company, and they should deal with the claim for you (basically, they pay for the repairs to your car and claim it back from the at-fault driver's insurer).

In this case it is fairly clear-cut - the other driver has admitted liability and presumably the police have accepted this. In that case, you should not end up out of pocket as as result (although knowing the insurance industry, you probably will...)

It sounds like they are treating it more like an unknown liability claim (i.e. one where they have to work out who is at fault, and assume both drivers are until it is known).

It is quite common to have to pay for the first part of the claim (deductible/excess), but as you are not at fault this should be reimbursed once they have claimed it back from the other driver. The amount you pay should not be more than that specified in your policy ($1.5k sounds like a lot - round here is is usually £2-300 (US$350-500) unless you're a high risk driver). There should be a section in your policy setting out how much you have to pay in the event of each type of claim - it'll probably be different for each of fire, theft or accident damage claims.

It is standard to have to take the car to an insurance-approved repairer. They usually have deals in place with said repairers (although some companies over here have got in trouble over that...). However I believe the insurers normally send an assessor round to you to inspect the car first before asking you to take it for repair.

Getting a rental car will depend on your policy - it is a common optional extra here, i.e. you pay more on your premium to have them pay for a rental if you need it as a result of a claim.

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+1. Very detailed answers Nick! –  f1StudentInUS Apr 24 '12 at 18:10
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