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What Is a Third-Party Claim, and Will It Affect My Insurance?
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After an accident, you may discover that another party has filed a claim against your insurance policy. As a result, you might worry about how this third-party claim will affect your insurance premiums and coverage.

A “third-party” claim refers to a liability claim filed against an insurance policy by someone other than the policyholder or insurance company. One typical example of third-party claims includes a person injured in a car accident filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. Conversely, a first-party claim occurs when the policyholder makes a claim against their policy, such as when a driver files a claim for collision/comprehensive coverage to repair their vehicle or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if an at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance coverage. 

How Do Third-Party Claims Work?

To file a third-party claim, a person who has suffered injuries and property damage due to another party’s fault must obtain that at-fault party’s insurance information, including the insurer’s name and the at-fault party’s policy number or contact information. Most insurance companies have a standardized claims process where third-party claimants can fill out paper or electronic forms to provide the insurer with information about the claim.

Once the insurance company receives a third-party claim, an adjuster will investigate the claim by contacting the policyholder for information, obtaining accident/incident reports, securing camera footage, interviewing witnesses, or visiting and documenting the accident scene. If the insurance company determines that its policyholder bears responsibility for causing the claimant’s injuries or property damage, the insurer may offer the third-party claimant a settlement. The claimant can negotiate for a higher settlement or file a lawsuit against the at-fault party; in most cases, the insurance company will assume financial responsibility for the legal defense and pay any judgment up to the insurance policy’s coverage limits.

How Third-Party Claims Affect Your Insurance

You can expect various negative consequences when someone files a third-party claim against your insurance policy. First, your insurance company may raise your premiums if it accepts liability for the claim or the injured party obtains a judgment against you since the insurer will view you as a higher risk for future claims. In extreme circumstances, the insurance company may deem you uninsurable and cancel or refuse to renew your policy.

How to Minimize the Effect of Third-Party Claims on Your Insurance

You can minimize the effects of third-party claims on your insurance coverage by following a few essential tips:

  • Maintain a good record and insurance history. Many insurance companies have “accident forgiveness” rules that prevent the insurer from raising your premiums after an accident. You can often reestablish “forgiveness” by maintaining a clean record for several years.
  • Promptly report accidents or potential claims. Insurers may deem you less risky if you promptly report accidents and cooperate with investigations.
  • Gather all available documentation. Sometimes, you may find evidence that disproves your fault for the accident.

Contact a Southern Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, contact the Belleville personal injury attorneys at Bonifield & Rosenstengel right away. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll an unexpected accident can take on your life, and we’re ready to put our skills to work for you.

Don’t let insurance companies take advantage of you during this vulnerable time. Call us or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our knowledgeable Belleville personal injury lawyers. We’ll listen to your story, assess the merits of your case, and develop a tailored strategy to pursue the best possible outcome on your behalf.