Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Apr 13, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • There are several factors to consider when deciding if you should file an insurance claim through your provider or another party’s provider
  • If you do not have any information about who hit your vehicle, your only option may be to file a claim through your insurance provider
  • Determining which driver is at-fault for the accident may help you decide if you should file a claim with your insurance company
  • Additionally, if you live in a no-fault state, you may be required to file under your insurance regardless of fault
  • You can always contact your insurance provider to explain the situation and get advice on how to proceed with filing a claim

In the event of an accident, it can be difficult to know which insurance company you should file a claim through.

If you are not at fault for the accident, it may make more sense to contact the at-fault driver’s provider. If you are determined to be at fault, however, your insurance company may need to handle the claim.

Some states also have no-fault insurance legislation; this means you will file a claim through your provider regardless of fault.

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Was the other driver at-fault for the accident?


If you are involved in an accident, you will want to speak to your insurance provider and get their advice based on what happened in the accident.

Your insurance provider may then ask several questions to understand the events of the accident and to help determine, from their perspective, which driver was at-fault for the accident.

In the scenario where the other driver is deemed at-fault, then you will want to contact the at-fault driver’s insurance provider to file your claim. This provider may require some basic information about their policyholder, the vehicle involved in the accident, and the policy to file the claim.

This allows them to verify that you have spoken to their policyholder and were involved in an accident with them.

It’s important to make sure you speak honestly with the insurance company about what happened in the accident. This includes telling them about any property damage that has occurred and any bodily injuries that may have happened as a result of the accident.

Providing full, accurate details up front is often perceived in a better light during the claim process.

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Were you the at-fault driver in the accident?

Just like before, if you are involved in an accident, it’s important to speak to your insurance provider about the situation. They can provide advice on how to proceed with your claim filing process; normally this occurs after they have spoken with you about the facts of the accident.

In the scenario which you are at-fault for the accident, then you will normally want to file the claim through your insurance provider.

Even when you are at-fault for the accident, your insurance provider can still help you with getting your vehicle repaired, getting a temporary rental car, or helping to get medical payments resolved.

As in any other claim situation, it’s vital that you are honest with your insurance provider.

When discussing the facts of the accident, make sure you share any information about property damage or bodily injuries that you can. Providing these details up front allows your insurance provider to take appropriate steps towards your claim resolution and settlement.

Do you live in a no-fault state?


If you live in a no-fault insurance state, this means you will need to speak with your insurance provider to file any claim. In this situation, you work with your insurance provider to reach a resolution for your claim.

Your insurance provider will then work with the other insurance company, if applicable, to recover any costs associated with your settlement. This process is called subrogration, which reduces car accident related lawsuits and court costs.

No-fault insurance can have different regulations based on the state you have coverage in.

For example, no-fault auto insurance may also allow you to recover in the event you are in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver. This helps to reduce the financial burden on you in these scenarios due to the other driver’s negligence.

Determining How to Proceed

Filing an insurance claim normally works by contacting the insurance provider for the driver that was at fault for the accident.

However, there are times when you may need to contact your insurance provider regardless of who was responsible for the accident.

For example, in situations where your state requires no-fault coverage, you may be required to contact your provider to handle the claim and any resulting settlements.

If you do not know how your coverage options work, you may want to contact your insurance provider for additional information.

Your insurance provider can explain how your insurance policy works, as well as situations where you might want to contact your provider for claim resolution. Your state’s Department of Insurance can also explain how any state-specific insurance regulations may work, such as no-fault insurance coverage.

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