If I was at-fault for an auto accident, what to do if the insurer never billed me but has now sent the account to collections?

It was my fault and I take full responsibility but the owner of the car I was driving (I was borrowing it to go to work that day) didn’t want to use their insurance to cover it. I figured I could make payment arrangements with the insurance company but they never billed me or contacted me at all; now I have a debt collector after me. I have had people tell me that state law says that an insurance company can’t turn you over to a debt collector without billing you first,yet have had others tell me that’s not true. I’m still willing to make payment arrangements with the insurance company but I’d like to know is state insurance law being violated?

Asked on March 2, 2013 under Insurance Law, Washington


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You need to fight the charge. If this has shown up on your credit report, dispute the debt. You can also require the debt collector to prove the charge. Then, file a claim with the department of insurance for failure to bill you and give you notice of charges. While I understand you wish to pay, the real issue here is no party legally got to you to pay (i.e., never gave you notice). And this friend of yours obviously didn't either, because the debt collector knew to try to collect from you.

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