Car insurance offers you financial protection if you are in an accident. Depending on your coverage, it can cover the vehicle damage and medical bills incurred by the other party, your repairs, and your medical expenses. If you are ever in an accident, you should know how to file an automobile insurance claim.
Steps to Take After An Accident
- Ensure Safety – Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If possible, move your vehicle to the shoulder side of the road.
- Call 911 – Even if your accident is a minor fender-bender, you should notify the police. Obtaining a police report of the accident is the initial step that you should take for your automobile insurance claim, regardless of who is at fault. If you choose to file a claim, insurance companies will ask for the police report to verify the event and start the claims process.
- Exchange Information with the Other Driver – Get their full name and contact info, insurance company and policy number, their driver’s license and license plate number, and make and model of vehicle.
- Document the Accident – Get the names of the police officers. Take photos of the damage and note the details of the accident. Be sure to include both cars, road conditions, weather conditions, and street signs. If there are any witnesses, ask if they are willing to share what they saw and their contact information.
Steps to File a Car Insurance Claim
- Obtain a copy of the police report.
- Call your insurance company or agent – They can walk you through how to file your car insurance claim. Furthermore, the agent can instruct you regarding how to file an auto accident report with the DMV. Your auto insurance company may also provide you with towing and a rental car if you have this service as part of your car insurance. Provide your insurance company any details you have collected from the accident including photos, the other driver’s insurance information, the police report.
- Timelines – To ensure that you are submitting all the necessary information on time, ask your insurance company what the time limitations are for filing your claims, submitting bills and resolving claims disputes.
- Claims Adjuster – The claims process begins with your auto insurance company assigning your claim to a claims adjuster. This person investigates the accident and helps resolve the claim. Be sure to work with your claims adjuster and follow his or her instructions. Additionally, your claims adjuster will inform you about how the vehicle repair and medical bills will be handled. Furthermore, the adjuster will advise you of what claims you can file and with which insurance company. You should provide your adjuster with as much information as you can.
- Repairs – You and your claims adjuster may need to agree on certain elements of how the repair costs will be handled. This includes the type of parts that will be used for the repairs (i.e. generic, etc.). Next, you should receive an estimate for the repair costs. Never have any repairs done without receiving prior approval from your auto insurance company. If you do, these repairs may not be covered.
What If You Experience Problems with Your Claims Adjuster
- Contact your insurance agent if you experience any problems with your claims adjuster. Clearly explain the problem to the agent and ask him to intervene on your behalf.
- If the previous step does not work, contact your state commissioner’s office and ask how to resolve the matter.
- One last step if you are not satisfied with the claim resolution is to hire an attorney.
When Are You Entitled to File A Car Insurance Claim?
Getting into an accident is always stressful. You want to make sure that you understand your coverage and the policy limits. If you are involved in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation for your injuries and medical bills and/or your property damage. If the other driver is at fault and you live in a tort state (the opposite of a no-fault state), you may file a claim through that driver’s liability insurance. In a no-fault state, you file a claim with your own auto insurance company.
If you are at fault, you may file a claim with your insurance company if you have the right coverage. Collision insurance covers the cost of your car repairs in this situation. Furthermore, you can file a claim with your insurance company to cover your liability to another driver or passengers in an accident in which you are responsible.
The reason most people purchase car insurance aside from the fact that it is legally required in most states is that they want coverage in the event of an accident. If you are in an accident, remember to stay calm. Collect all the information you need to file a claim and protect your financial well-being.