How do I make a claim on someone else’s car insurance?

When you file a claim with someone else’s car insurance, it is known as a “third-party claim”. Third-party car insurance claims are the most frequent type of insurance claim. How to make a claim on someone else’s car insurance is as easy as calling their insurance company, giving an agent their policy number, and filing a claim to be reimbursed for your damages after an accident.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 26, 2020

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Things to know...

  • When you make a claim on another motorist’s insurance, you do so against that person’s liability coverage
  • The process of filing on someone else’s policy is very similar to when you do so with your own provider
  • If you’re involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t carry insurance, you can file a claim with your own insurance provider
  • It’s more difficult to file a third-party claim if you reside in a no-fault state

A “third-party” claim is the most frequent type of claim filed with insurance companies. When you file a claim with someone else’s insurance provider, this third-party claim is what will ultimately reimburse you for damages. Drivers in most states are required to have liability coverage for the sole purpose of compensating another driver, or third party, in the event of an accident.

If you don’t want to wait to file a third-party claim with the other driver’s provider, you could, theoretically, file one with your own insurance company instead. In this case, your provider may employ “subrogation,” which is the legal right for an insurance company to pursue compensation for damages caused by another party, including reimbursement if the victim is required to pay a deductible.

If the other driver’s insurance company is difficult to contact or you feel that the company is delaying the compensation process, it might be useful to consider filing with your own provider. Speak with your own insurance company about the best way to handle this situation so you can avoid inadvertently prolonging the claims process.

Learn more about third-party claims below and make sure to compare rates with our free quote tool above! 

When should you file a third-party claim against someone else’s insurance company?


You are considered to be a “third party” whenever you pursue a claim against another driver’s provider. If you find yourself involved in one of the following four situations, a third-party claim may be in your best interest:

  • You were in a car crash while driving your own vehicle for business- or work-related purposes. You would contact your employer’s insurance company, not the other driver’s provider, in order to file a third-party claim.
  • You sustained injuries while driving a company car. Most businesses have specific auto insurance policies designed solely for companies. You would contact your company to inform them of the incident so that they may file the claim on your behalf.
  • You were struck by another motorist and were not at fault for the crash. Although you would, theoretically, file a third-party claim against the other driver’s policy, if you are in a no-fault state, this may not necessarily be the case.
  • You sustained injuries while riding as a passenger. You would file a third-party claim with the insurance company of the driver who was operating the vehicle at the time of the incident to seek compensation for lost wages, medical treatment, and other damages.

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How do you actually file a third-party claim?

It’s important to arm yourself with the knowledge of how third-party claims actually work so that you are prepared. Car crashes happen in the blink of an eye, and the last thing you want to do is neglect obtaining vital information that you would need later down the road. At the scene, make sure you write down the other driver’s insurance company and policy number.

Once you have this information, you don’t need to discuss the claim with the other driver. Instead, you contact their insurance company directly and as soon as possible in order to start the process.

When you reach out to them, you’ll be connected with one of their claims representatives who will work with you throughout the process, and you should receive a written letter that will serve as documentation of your claim.

However, keep in mind that every insurance company is different, and the procedure and policies in place may vary from provider to provider. Be prepared to answer questions regarding the incident and provide photos if the insurance company requests them. Keep track of all expenses, police reports and medical bills that you incur as a result of the accident.

Also, make sure you answer all phone calls and emails as promptly as possible. If the insurance company feels that they can’t reach you or communicate with you in a reasonable amount of time, they may deny your claim. Once you have provided all of the necessary information, the provider will make a decision and either approve or reject your claim.

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What happens if the other driver is at fault but has no insurance?

If you are involved in a car accident and the other driver doesn’t have insurance and yet is liable for the incident, you’ll need to speak with your own provider to file a claim. Keep in mind that a basic liability policy will not compensate you for damages, so make sure you have enough coverage yourself to file your claim.

If you’re in the process of obtaining quotes for a new policy, consider adding underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage to protect yourself from drivers who don’t have enough, if any, insurance to cover damages.

Collision coverage can also help to pay for damages to your car, so if you’re in a hit-and-run accident, for example, the cost of repairing or replacing your car will be taken care of, but you will not receive compensation for medical expenses should you sustain an injury.

What happens if I live in a no-fault state?

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If you live in a “no-fault” state, you’ll need to purchase a policy that offers personal protection. In the insurance world, “no-fault” insurance simply means that you will be compensated for damages, regardless of whether the accident was your fault. In these 12 states, filing a third-party claim is difficult, and your right to sue for damages is significantly restricted.

Conversely, “at-fault” states see more third-party claims since laws don’t require policyholders to first contact their own providers for compensation.

In some cases, if an insurance company agrees to compensate its own policyholder for an incident that wasn’t his or her fault, the company may employ subrogation and pursue reimbursement from the responsible party’s provider.

These practices are not routine in no-fault states since drivers are typically required to purchase property damage liability and personal injury protection coverage.

Filing a third-party claim with another driver’s insurance can either be a difficult or a smooth process depending on the insurance companies involved. However, third-party claims are no different than claims with your own insurance company, so make sure you are keeping an open line of communication with the claims representative and providing all documentation as necessary.

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