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First Party vs. Third Party Insurance Claims

After a personal injury accident, especially car accidents, you typically have the option of filing a first or third party insurance claim. These terms have to do with which insurance company you file an injury claim with. 

What is a First-Party Insurance Claim? 

A first-party insurance claim is filed by a policyholder (the first party) with their insurance company (the second party). For example, after a car accident in Florida, you can file a first-party claim with your own auto insurance company. The reason is that Florida law requires that your own insurance company cover the financial costs of your personal injury and property damage up to the limits of your own policy. In other types of accidents, it may depend on your policy and the kind of coverage you carry. For example, suppose a storm or natural disaster damages your home. In that case, you may be able to file a first-party claim under your homeowner’s insurance policy, depending on the terms outlined in your contract. Some other types of first party claims include: 

  • Health insurance claims.
  • Filing a claim under your underinsured or uninsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage on your auto policy if the at-fault party does not carry insurance or your expenses exceed their policy limits.
  • Filing a claim under your renter’s insurance policy after a theft

Since you are the policyholder when you file a first party claim, the insurance company should treat you fairly and approve coverage per your contract. If they fail to do so, it is considered a breach of contract, which may subject them to harsh penalties under Florida law. 

Third-Party Insurance Claims

The costs of a personal injury accident can sometimes exceed the coverage you carry or may not be covered by your insurance policy at all. When another party is responsible for causing you harm and any related losses, you may have to hold them directly accountable for the difference. If they carry liability insurance, you have the right to file a claim directly with their insurance company (the third party). Liability insurance is used to protect a policyholder from having to pay out-of-pocket for damages they are at fault for causing. Some common types of third party claims include: 

  • Car accident claim against the at-fault party’s insurer.
  • Truck accident claim against the trucking company’s insurer.
  • Slip and fall accident claim against a property owner’s insurer.
  • Dog bite injury claim against the owner’s homeowner’s insurance liability coverage. 
  • Defective product claim against a manufacturer’s insurer.
  • Construction accident claim against a subcontractor’s insurance company. 

Because you are not the policyholder, when you file a third party claim, there is a risk that the insurance company will not behave in good faith. For example, they may try to reduce your compensation by claiming you were at fault or denying your claim. Therefore, it is in your best interest to let a injury attorney file the claim for you since they have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies and can protect your rights.

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