Suppose you are involved in a car accident. You exchange information with the other driver and discover that you both have the same insurance company. What now?
Does that make a difference in how the claims are handled?
The answer is “No.” Don’t look at it as the same insurance company. Look at it as though you each have different policies. It doesn’t matter that the policies were issued by the same insurance company.
Even though you have the same insurance company, the claims are handled differently. For instance, if you believe the other driver was at fault, then you will probably make a claim against that driver’s policy. If you do, that is a third-party liability claim and the adjuster will treat just like any other liability claim. That means the adjuster primary duty is to protect and defend their driver. It doesn’t that you have the same insurance company.
If you also make a claim under your own policy, such as to cover the damage to your car, then this would be a first-party claim. That means the insurance adjuster has the primary duty to provide you with the coverage afforded under your policy.
Beware of a Conflict of Interest.
But if you both have the same insurance company, isn’t there a potential conflict of interest? Yes there is! That is why you will probably have two different adjusters handling the claims. One adjuster will handle the liability claim that you are making against the other driver. The other adjuster will handle the claim made by you under your own policy.
In a perfect world, the adjusters are supposed to keep the claims separate. That means information may not pass between the them unless you consent. Otherwise, the insurance company could the personal information you shared under you own coverage against you.
I had one situation recently where my client and the at-fault driver were covered by the same company and the same adjuster was working the claim. Once I was retained to represent the client, the adjuster withdrew from both claims and two different adjusters were assigned to each claim separately.
This is just one of the many ways insurance companies take advantage of someone who is not represented by an experienced car accident attorney.