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How to Find Out If a Car Has Insurance

Following a car accident, emotions can fly high, leaving you with pressing questions, the foremost among them being, “Does the other driver have insurance?” Knowing the other party’s car insurance status has become very crucial in car accidents, as you need to make sure the other driver has enough coverage to cover your car repairs.

At first glance, trying to determine the insurance status of the at-fault driver who hit you can seem daunting, but not to worry. 

I’ve outlined all the essential steps to find out if a car has insurance so you can get paid for the losses you suffered. If you are going to inherit a car or receive one as a gift from a family member, you need to also find out about its insurance status so you know what to expect during auto accidents.

To help you determine whether a car is insured, I’ll go over all the necessary steps so you’ll be able to handle these situations with assurance and comfort. My goal is to arm you with the knowledge needed to unearth a car’s insurance status because you’ll need it in an accident or when you’re about to take ownership of a gifted car.

How to find out if a car has insurance

If you have been involved in a car wreck or experienced some damage to your vehicle, finding out if the defaulting driver has car insurance is the next step. 

This process can take many twists and turns. There are a few steps to easily determine the car insurance status of that driver. Let us look at some of them now.

Read: How Do I Find Out If My Car Is Insured? 

Ask the defaulting driver to provide you with their insurance information

Ideally, the simple step to take is to ask the other driver about their car insurance information in the event of an accident, take a photo of the driver’s insurance card, or write the policy number and name of the insurance company.

However, it is easier said than done, especially in a situation where the possibility of the driver giving you false information about their car insurance is high. Coupled with the fact that about 14% of drivers in the United States do not have car insurance coverage.

This percentage varies by state as some have way higher percentages while others have a lower percentage of drivers without car insurance.

Ask the police to provide you with the driver’s insurance information

You see, many drivers can be difficult to deal with. When a driver refuses to divulge information about their car insurance on an accident scene, do not fret. Involve the police and get them to produce a police report.

Often, the police will instruct and ensure that the driver provides the necessary information. In a case where the driver claims not to have car insurance coverage, the police will also go through the pains to confirm if it’s really so. 

On the other hand, there may be extreme cases where you may have to be rushed to the hospital due to emergencies as a result of the accident. The first line of action, when you’ve regained consciousness, is to involve the police and have them produce a police or crash report. 

They will also help you to get the driver’s car insurance information. This is necessary especially when you may not be able to see the driver after the accident. You will also need the police report to claim damages. 

Speak to the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state

Every State has a Department of Motor Vehicles which holds the insurance records for all registered vehicles. You can speak to them to give you access to the insurance information about the at-fault driver.

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) expects that you provide substantial reasons outlining why you want access to such information. At this point, the police report will come in handy as you can present it to them.

In addition to providing a police report, it’ll help better when you submit the license plate number and any other information about the other driver. The DMV in some states would then require you to fill out a form. Also, it is crucial that all information you make available to your local DMV is accurate and with no falsehoods.

Get a photo of the car plate numbers

A question you might want to ask yourself is this, “what should I do in the case of a hit-and-run?”

It’s not uncommon for a driver to zoom off after an accident because they have no car insurance. Getting a photo of the driver’s plate number is the best thing you can do at this point.

You can also try to get other obvious means of identity they may have. For instance, bulging rims, biggest exhausts, very fanciful or custom-made body colors, tires, and anything you can lay your hands on. 

After you’ve gotten this information, send it over to the police and make a report as well. With this information, the police can help you provide the driver’s identity and insurance records from their data. This action will also give you a more legal stance and a stronger possibility to claim damages.

Speak to a car accident lawyer 

In the case of car accident insurance, personal injury lawyers are very handy. They can fill in the gap for you in many ways. If you don’t have one, you might want their input as they can help you determine accident faults in your favor and easily get coverage out of your insurer. 

When you’re down and out in a critical accident and rushed to the hospital, it may not be a good time to go running around looking for information about the other driver’s car insurance. A personal injury lawyer can do the heavy lifting for you. 

Employing the services of an auto accident lawyer can help smoothen the claims process for you. These lawyers can help you speak to the defaulting driver’s insurance company, find out the driver’s car insurance status, and look out for your maximum interest. A lawyer will also help increase your chances of obtaining due compensation.

Related: How Much Car Insurance Do I Need?

What not to do in finding out if a car has insurance

Having your car damaged can be a really painful experience. It can cause you to make irrational decisions in your bid to claim compensation for your car damages. 

Sometimes, your instinctive response is likely to be wrong. You may need some expert guidance and also apply a whole lot of standard best practices in dealing with defaulting drivers.

If you are in the process of finding out if a car has insurance so that you can claim compensation, there are a few things you may want to avoid doing. 

Do not engage the other driver’s insurance company yourself

After a car accident, going to speak with the defaulting driver’s insurance company may be counterintuitive especially if the driver was at fault and your purpose is to seek compensation in court. The defaulting driver’s insurance company is definitely not on your side in this case.

They won’t work to protect your best interests but that of themselves and their client. The best you can do is to call your personal injury lawyer or contact your insurer and have them send a claims adjuster on your behalf to the other driver’s insurance company.

Nevertheless, reaching out to your insurance company about the accident is the most recommended option. Do this after reporting or before reporting to the police. 

It is better than ignoring your insurance company in such cases. If you have a photo of the accident scene and the other driver’s license plate, your insurer can help you search and find out if the defaulting driver’s car is insured or otherwise.

Do not try to block the driver from zooming off

In the event of a hit-and-run, do not put yourself in harm’s way. I know that the instinctive thing to do if you’re not injured is to latch onto the vehicle as it tries to zoom off, give the driver a hot pursuit, or stand in the way of the driver so they don’t get past. 

This is a very dangerous stunt and must be avoided. It’s dangerous because you don’t know the driver or what they are capable of doing as some may be on a substance, drunk, or have a high degree of recklessness. 

The last place you want to find yourself is in the hospital with bandages, because now you have to worry about your medical costs other than your damaged car. 

Do not collect monetary bribes from the driver

If you have reported the accident to the police, then also file a claim with the car insurance company you have a policy with. Often, insurance companies have a clause for drivers whose vehicles are not insured, and yours most likely have one too.

One of the things you may have to watch out for is that defaulting drivers may want to offer you some form of monetary compensation on the spot of the incident, especially when they do not have car insurance. In clear terms, this is a bribe. 

You have to avoid taking the cash. Taking the money will be viewed as you having taken compensation for damages done already, and you’re likely to shortchange yourself especially if your insurer could’ve gotten better compensation from the other driver’s insurance company.

The best way to find out if the other driver has car insurance is to inform your insurer and let them send a claims adjuster to find out. Another sure way is to get the services of an accident lawyer, and lastly inform the Department of Motor Vehicles after you’ve filed a police report. 

You’re most likely to get your answers about the at-fault driver’s insurance status this way.

Related: How to File Insurance Claims Against Other Driver

Chinwe Gladys
Chinwe Gladys
Chinwe is a car insurance writer focused on providing a clear roadmap for prospective drivers to select the coverage options that's best for them.
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