Though I've never worked on Personal Lines (Auto, Life, Health, Home) I am a Broker of Insurance--so while I'm an expert on Insurance, I'm not one on Auto, but will give my two cents here.
When someone makes a claim, you as the Insured actually are obligated by your policy NOT to settle the claim yourself or admit even the slightest degree of liability. The insurance company has no doubt written this into your policy. The insurance company has the right (and obligation) to either settle or defend. On the other hand, if this claim falls below the deductible, they might just say they have no duty to handle the claim at all unless it exceeds the deductible amount.
Also, in your favor, unless the police were called at the time of the accident and an official report was filed, and your respective insurance carriers were also notified per the Reporting Requirements of your policies, the other party has already nullified their ability to file the claim and you owe nothing--because they chose to not report the accident at the time of occurrence.
Bottom Line: They have no claim. It's too late for them (or you for that matter) to make a claim. If you suddenly realized you had some sort of physical injury and that it was due to the accident for instance--too late. If either of you figured out that though there was no visible damage on the outside of your vehicle but that the collission, say, bent the frame or body out of alignment--too late.
This is why, even for the slightest little bump, you should take the time to report an accident--unless of course both parties wish to waive any loss claims.
Even if the $400 amount is too small for your insurer to deal with because it falls below deductible, you should direct your question to your insurer for an authoritative answer.
· 9 years ago