If the "loser's insurer" denied liability and you were subsequently awarded a judgment against the other party, the insurer is required to pay you the amount of the judgment. You don't need to sue the insurer. They'll cut you a check for $1652 plus costs. The judge evidently felt that you were asking for about $5000 too much. Why were you asking this amount to begin with? You need to prove damages. Unfortunately, your stuck with the judgment amount.
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Apparently, in Small Claims Court the judge evaluated evidence you presented and he or she made a decision that the value of your claim was $1,652.00 and $72.00 in court fees. You need to get on the Internet and check out the insurance company in regard to potential assets. The easiest way to collect would probably be to find real estate they owned in the State of California and record an Abstract of Judgment as against that real estate. If I were in your position, that's what I would do.