Nobody wants to have to file an auto insurance claim. However, doing so is necessary in order to avoid paying thefull amount of the damages your vehicle has sustained out of pocket. In the event that you need to file a claim, you’ll need to do the following in order be sure that everything is done as seamlessly as possible:
In the event of an auto insurance claim, the first step is to contact the police at the site of the accident if there is significant property damage or bodily injury. A police report will help when filing your claim as it will provide your insurance company with the information they need from a reliable source. If a serious injury has occurred,call an ambulance immediately.
Exchange information with the other party or parties involved.Do not admit fault in the process. Simply ask for their important information, including their name(s), contact information, insurance information, vehicle information (license plate, make and model, VIN number, year), and driver’s license number(s).
While waiting for the police or after they have left, contact your insurance agent to let them know what has happened;be sure to have your policy number in front of you before you do so. Use this opportunity to ask whether towing or a rental car is covered by your insurance policy, or if you have to pay these expenses out of pocket. Your insurance agent will walk you through what needs to be done and hopefully relieve some of your stress.
Take pictures of the damage. You can email these photos to your insurance agent as evidence. Take pictures of the road conditions in which the accident occurred as well if this was a contributing factor to your accident. For example, if you hydroplaned and rear-ended another vehicle, you’ll want to take pictures of the wet road in order to validate the details of your claim.
Don’t wait too long to file your claim… waiting can look suspicious, but more importantly, it may lead to your claim not being covered. This is because some policies require that you file your claim within a certain amount of time. If you haven’t done so within the specified time frame, you may be forced to pay for the damages on your own.
Once you tell your insurance agent what happened, a claims adjuster will be assigned to you in order to assist you with the process of filing the claim. This claims adjuster will answer any questions you may have, and provide you with useful advice for your specific situation. Additionally, they will assess the damages of your claim and decide how much you will be compensated.
The amount of time your claim will take to be resolved varies. Some claims are more complicated than others, so receiving your compensation may take some time depending on how straightforward your particular case is. Your insurance agent and claims adjuster will keep you up to date on the progress of your claim, however, so you won’t be left in the dark.
It’s important to remember that not every accident needs to be reported. Filing a claim will increase your auto insurance premiums, so if the damage to your vehicle is minor, it may be a better idea to pay for the cost of repairs out of pocket. It may be a relief in the moment to not have to pay for everything yourself, but you’ll be paying that money to your insurance company later on with increased rates. Always contact your agent to discuss options.