Bike damaged parked car (no injuries) - how to settle car owner's claim

Hi, I lost control of my bike (chain broke) and hit a parked car, made some scratches and one of the side panels fell off. A mechanic gave a ballpark estimate of $800-1400 based on pictures of the damage, but the car owner has just filed a claim with her insurance company. The insurance company called me to inform me that their payment recovery firm will pursue me for all of the cost of the repairs. The car owner is asking me to pay her directly for the deductible and that she’d just let the insurance company pay the rest (i.e. I’m not liable for it), but the insurance company has told me that they will ask me to pay for all of the damage (including the deductible, which they will reimburse her for).

What should I do? Should I pay the deductible directly to the car owner (under the table) and let her insurance handle the rest of the damage and hope that I can keep ignoring their request for payment recovery? Or should I pursue the more legal / clear path of just handling the payment directly with the insurance company (probably paying a lot more than the deductible)?

Pay her insurance company. Use a check so you have a paper trail. The insurance will then reimburse her for her deductible.

That’s the way it’s done. If you pay her deductible directly to her, her insurance may just keep hounding you.

I would only deal with the insurance company, not the other driver.

She also just told me her deductible is $500 (way less than the estimates of what the repair would cost) but when I asked the insurance agent, the agent said that he was not authorized to tell that information, so for all I know, the deductible could be $200.

The thing is you are liable. She is mistaken about how insurance works. If she has insurance pay her claim which she probably will, the insurance company will come after you for the full cost. Its called subrogation and they will hound you for years. Then you still owe her the deductible. Don’t you have a renters or homeowners liability policy that might help pay?

If you have homeowners insurance (or renters insurance), check to see if this is covered. Most homeowners policies will cover this kind of claim. They would also cover it if any member of your family causes damage by accident. If it is covered, they will deal with the other insurance company for you.

I thought about homeowners insurance for this situation. For me, my homeowners deductible is at least $1000 (figured as a percentage) because I get a much better premium rate AND if one makes a couple of claims within a couple of years, there is the risk of having the insurance company cancel the policy. In other words, my Homeowners (and Umbrella) helps with major catastrophes, but not nickel/dime stuff like this.

One has to be careful about using homeowners for little claims.


I’ll echo others advice. Once she contacted her insurance company, she eliminated any opportunity to work directly with her.

Assuming you do not have any insurance to cover your end, the next step is to tell the insurance company you will reimburse them for any relevant repairs directly caused by you. Ask them to send you a copy of the firm quotation they obtain for the repairs. Just want to look it over and check for padding or other repairs not related to the damage you caused. Assuming it all looks on the up and up, you ask for a release of further liability with payment in full.

Pay her insurance company and avoid any contact with the owner. You will probably get burned if you don’t.

We have renters insurance with Amica but we called and they confirmed that this is not covered by them :frowning:

Was The Car Legally Parked?

I 'spose you can always go to court and argue but really hitting a stationary object regardless of how it is stopped, is kinda hard to argue. Wonder how many bike riders are out there riding bare with no insurance in case the injure or kill someone. Some of these riders really move along and you can’t hear them coming.

Yes the car was legally parked.