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Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Licensed Atty, 29 yrs exp in the practice of law.
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Auto insurance qn : I have a dent on the car front side and

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Auto insurance qn : I have a dent on the car front side and some scratches on the back and bumper might need a repaint as well ...My question is can I put all this in one claim , this is because i just want to pay my 500$ deductible only once..can the insurance company say that there are separate incidents and so need separate claims which might require me to pay everything out of my pocket

example : 1.dent 1- new issue - costs $600

2. scratches on back - old issue - costs $400

3. bumper repaint - old issue - costs $800

so the total cost is 1800$ and can I just pay $500 or end up paying $1500 and insurance company just pays 300$

Thank you for the information and your question. No, you can not bunch all of the damage together in one claim. There must be a separate claim for each separate incident/accident that led to the damages. So, unless this all happened at once, which from what you say it didn't, it cannot be submitted as one claim. That means that the deductible could be charged for each incident.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much - For my knowledge sake - apart from the two issues that occurred in past ... lets say on a closer examination I find other issues which i dont know whether they have occurred recently or old ones which I might have missed , how will the insurance company deal with this situation ? I am obviously going to give my self benefit of doubt and say that any remaining issues might have been from recent incident

Hello again and thank you for the follow up. Generally what happens is the insurance company sends out an insurance adjuster to actually look at your vehicle. They are trained in knowing how old damage is and also if it is related to the same incident by where it is on the vehicle and the facts provided by the insured. That is how they will determine what damage on your care is related or not to the other damage. In the end, you may want to consider only claiming damage that you know with certainty exactly when it happened and how.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks a lot


yes they may be trained , but there can be an incident which causes a dent both on front door and back bumper , How can they prove or come to a conclusion about the age of a damage ? I agree that I dont know for sure, when the other issues happened( because a small ding on a black car isnt noticeable to you unless you examine very closely and nobody would do that every day ) but why will the insurance company get the benefit of doubt and not me ?

You're welcome. It isn't so much an issue of benefit of the doubt, it is an issue of an contract and potential fraud. I used to work for a major automobile insurance company and I can tell you that the adjusters are very good at what they do. They have a lot of training and can tell the age of damage on the vehicle by the appearance. Yes, indeed, a front and back dent or damages, can be related, but they must appear to have occurred at the same time and you absolutely must have an estimate of when the damage occurred and how. That is just how insurance policies work. There are two different types of coverage, collision and comprehensive, so how something happened makes a difference. For example, a moving vehicle hitting you is collision. However, a shopping cart being blown into you parked car is comprehensive. It is all very technical and entirely dependent on the facts. You cannot just call up the insurance company and say I want all this cosmetic work done on my car without having an actual event accident/incident to tie to it.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for the detailed explanation .


So , the summary is - if insurance adjuster says this is 1 year old damage , it is one year old .


If he says this is 2 years old damage , it is 2 years old .


Am I right ? This tpic is new for me , so pardon me if my questions doesnt make a lot of sense

You're welcome and that is sort of how it is. You have the right to object to his or her categorization of how old the damage is or if it is related, but you need to have facts in your claim to back it up. In other words, it is not impossible for you to challenge their initial decision, but you need to be prepared to support your argument.
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