How do I settle an accident if 2 insurance companies deny fault?

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How do I settle an accident if 2 insurance companies deny fault?

I rented a car and my boyfriend was driving the car legally because he was on my insurance policy. A person backed into the rental car and caused $490 worth of damage. The rental car company charged my credit card for $500. My insurance company and the offenders insurance company are denying liability, however the insurer has used the $500 from my credit card to repair the damage. My insurance company says that they do not pursue incidents unless the liability is more than $500. Their advice was to go to small claims court to get my $500 back.

Asked on December 23, 2016 under Accident Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your insurer must pay when the policy requires them to do so--no more and no less. What is your deductible on your insurance policy? If it is $500 or more, they don't have to pay or take any action--their obligation(s) only kick in when the claim is more than the deductible. This is most likely what occured.
As to the offender's insurance company: their obligation is to their insured not to you. Often, the at-fault driver's insurer will choose to settle, if they feel that it is cost effective to offer you money to resolve the case and that their driver's fault is clear. But the don't have to pay anything until and unless you sue their driver and win, getting a court order or judgment requiring payment. They could be making the calcualtion that for this amount of money, you are unlikely to pursue legal action; hence, they can get away without paying. 
You do have the right to sue the other driver for the damage he did to the car: if he was at fault (i.e. was negligent or careless in hitting your car, which he may well have been under this circumstance), then you should be able to get a judgment in your favor. Suing in small claims court for the money you had to pay is a cost-effective option.


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