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Ask the Car Insurance Expert

I was involved in an accident in Colorado. Two bikers caused me to have the accident, but the state trooper gave me a ticket for careless driving and he let the bikers go. I have liability, comprehensive and UMPD coverage, but I don't have collision. I fought the ticket and it was amended to a defective vehicle violation with a $2,500 fine. Since the court didn’t find me at fault, should their insurance company replace my totaled vehicle?

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No, not unless the insurance company of one of the bikers has accepted that their policyholder was legally liable for the accident.

Just because you get a ticket reduced, or even thrown out, it doesn’t mean that you weren’t at fault for an accident associated with the ticket.  Police at the scene of the accident can write citations to drivers the officer believes violated state traffic laws and even given an opinion about who is at fault in the incident; however, it’s the car insurance companies involved in claims that determine fault.

If you believe that the bikers were at fault and obtained their insurance information (since motorcyclists in Colorado are required to carry the same amount of liability insurance -- 25/50/15 --as cars), then you can try and make a claim.  If the bikers’ insurance providers find them to be at fault, say 50 percent each, then the insurers could each pay half for your totaled vehicle.  You don’t get paid for a replacement vehicle, but the actual cash value of the vehicle that was totaled in this accident.

But, if the bikers’ insurance companies agree with the police officer that you were at fault for the incident, then the insurers could deny your claim.

If you had collision coverage, you would be able to make a claim with your own auto insurance company for your totaled vehicle.  Unfortunately, you have only comprehensive and uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) on your vehicle, and neither cover this situation.

UMPD is not a replacement for collision coverage; it can only be used if an uninsured motorist is found at fault for damaging your vehicle.  To have your vehicle covered for collision with another vehicle or object, regardless of fault, you need collision as part of your car insurance policy.

Last updated: May. 19, 2014
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