How to File a Car Insurance Claim



Getting into a car crash can be stressful and cause panic, even if you are protected with car insurance. Many folks have coverage, but don’t know what to do after an accident and don’t know how to file a car insurance claim. Keep calm and read on.

The car insurance claim process may seem daunting, but it is easier than it appears. Here is some information on what to do after a collision and how to file a claim with little hassle.

Things You Should Know Before the Worst Happens

No one plans to get into an accident, but it’s important to know what your policy covers in case you have file a car accident injury claim or any other insurance claim. Read through your policy so you always know where you stand. Know how much liability coverage you have and if you have collision and comprehensive coverage. If you notice any coverage you want that isn’t included in your plan, contact your insurance company to get it added to your policy. Reading over your policy can also inform you on how to best file an auto insurance claim with your insurer if you cannot proceed with traditional methods.

After the Accident

There is a whole guide on what to do after getting into an auto accident and there are some steps that take priority before filing accident claims. In short, pull over and park away from traffic if possible, check yourself and others involved in the accident for injuries, call the police to report the accident, and exchange insurance information with the people involved with the collision. Also, take pictures of the accident scene if you are able, write down license plate numbers of all vehicles involved in the collision, and write down the names and contact information of any witnesses.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Regardless of whoever caused the accident, you should call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident and file a claim. There should be a national or local phone number on your insurance card that you can call. When you speak with your insurance representative, ask if there are any particular forms you need to fill out or other information they need in order to swiftly process auto accident claims. Knowing what information you’ll need to obtain, usually items such as repair bills and the police report, will save you from making follow-up phone calls later on.

Take Your Car to a Repair Shop

While most state laws prohibit insurance companies from favoring specific auto body repair shops, many will provide you a list of local shops that are backed by repair and labor guarantees. Ultimately, you will be the one to choose which repair shop will fix your car. Make sure you know what your settlement amounts are before signing off on an estimate for repairs. You don’t want to end up paying beyond your policy’s limit if you can help it. Keep and make copies of all paperwork.

Cooperate With Your Insurer

Depending on the severity of the accident, you may be required to give your insurer additional information. They may call the repair shop to discuss the estimate for repairs or send an insurance adjuster to inspect the car. You may need to send copies of any legal papers or settlement offers you receive in relation to the accident. This can help your insurer defend you if you are sued as a result of the accident. It may seem like a hassle, but it is all in the interest of providing you the protection you purchased.

Keep Records of All Related Expenses

If you get a car estimate, hospital bill, a bill for a rental car, or any other expense related to your car accident, you need to be able to show proof of it to your insurance company. Keep any and all receipts or paperwork that indicates how much you paid or need to pay. You should also write down and report anything that could be considered lost wages. This can help you get reimbursed properly for these expenses.

Keep and Store Copies of Paperwork

This has been mentioned previously multiple times, but it bears repeating. It is important to keep any and all paperwork related to your accident in order for your insurance provider to refer to it when filing your car insurance claim. Keep the originals and make copies of any forms, bills, or other items related to your accident. You should also consider keeping your records organized in a file and kept in a safe place in your home.

If You’re Dissatisfied, Talk to Your Insurance Agent

If your claim has been processed and you aren’t satisfied with your payout, don’t be afraid to talk things over with your insurance provider. You can both review what was outlined in your policy agreement and see if there was any information that was overlooked or forgot to provide. It could also be an opportunity to update your insurance policy to include certain coverages that weren’t available to you in this instance.

How Many Cars Can Be Insured on the Same Policy?

Is there a limit to the number of cars that can be insured under the same policy? How many vehicles can you cover under one policy? Today, we’re answering all your questions about multi-car insurance policies – including how to save money on a multi-car insurance policy.

Multi-Car Insurance Is an Easy Way to Save Money

If you live in a household with multiple vehicles, then it’s in your best interest to insure your cars under one policy (unless, of course, your spouse has a DUI or some other major incident that would cause insurance rates to rise).

That’s why multi-vehicle insurance policies exist. Multi-car insurance policies are built for households with two or more passenger vehicles. These vehicles are covered under a single policy. You pay less than you would if you insured each car individually, and you save even more money by bundling vehicle insurance with your home insurance or life insurance.

The benefits of a multi-car insurance policy are obvious. However, there are certain requirements to qualify for a multi-car insurance policy.

Requirements for a Multi-Car Policy

There’s one obvious requirement for qualifying for a multi-car insurance policy: you need to insure two or more passenger vehicles on the same car insurance policy.

To do that, you’ll need all of the usual information – like the VIN and lienholder information (if applicable) for any vehicles, as well as the driver’s license numbers for all drivers. The information required for a multi-car policy is no different from a single-car policy, aside from the fact that you’re listing multiple vehicles.

Is There a Limit to the Number of Vehicles Under One Policy?

Insurance companies almost always have a limit to the number of cars you can cover under a single insurance policy.

Typically, insurers allow you to cover a maximum of four of five vehicles under a single policy.

Other Restrictions with Multi-Car Insurance Policies

There are certain other restrictions you may need to know about with multi-car insurance policies. Some companies offer a discount only if the insured cars are in the same household and insured by related parties. If you’re living with unrelated roommates, for example, then you may not qualify for a multi-car insurance policy.

Other insurers, however, only require everyone to live at the same address, and they don’t care whether or not you’re related.

Another important thing to note is that you could qualify for a multi-car insurance discount in the middle of your term. Some people instinctively wait for the end of their term to add a new vehicle, when they could be taking advantage of the discount immediately.

Does the Coverage for Each Vehicle Need to Be Identical?

This is where things get a little tricky. Typically, insurance companies require all vehicles under a multi-vehicle policy to have the same amount of liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage. This is done to ensure there’s no confusion regarding how much liability coverage each vehicle has.

In other words, if you have a liability limit of 100/300/50 on your first vehicle, then you need to have those same limits on your second vehicle.

This isn’t just your insurance company being nitpicky: state laws often require liability limits to be the same for all vehicles under a single policy.

Policyholders, however, are free to adjust collision coverage and comprehensive coverage between vehicles. You might want full coverage on your brand new SUV, for example, while getting rid of collision and comprehensive coverage on your 10+-year-old vehicle.

You can also add, remove, or adjust add-ons however you like – including things like rental car reimbursement or custom car coverage. You’re totally free to add this to certain vehicles under your policy but not others.

There’s one important thing to remember with all this: the insurance company insures your vehicle, not the driver. If your primary vehicle has full coverage, but your secondary vehicle has no collision or comprehensive coverage, then that doesn’t change when someone else drives it.

You Can’t Insure Cars and Motorcycles Under the Same Policy

The only other restriction you need to know about is that motorcycles and cars cannot be covered under the same multi-car insurance policy.  Motorcycles require a motorcycle policy – not an auto policy. However, you may still be eligible for a discount by ordering through the same insurer for both policies.

Car Choice Comes Last for Bad Credit Buyers

Here at LivAuto auto loan, we often receive comments from consumers who are looking for their next car. Typically, people who are looking for an auto loan tend to pick out a car first and look for financing second. This process may work for someone with good to great credit, but for many people—especially those with bad credit—the process works differently.

 

Take this customer who recently wrote to us about finding a vehicle:

“I'm looking for a dark purple car would love to get Camaro but I would be willing to get a different model like Impala or even an SUV but I can't afford a new one…”

To be clear, we are not a car finder or a finance company. We help people with bad credit get connected to local special finance dealers who can help people get the vehicles they need.

Why the Bad Credit Process is Different

Wanting a particular car is one thing, but when you have damaged credit, it's more important to get what you need—or what you can afford—rather than trying to find the exact car you want. This is due to the fact that when you are looking for financing with bad credit, you first have to get an approval from a subprime lender.

Subprime financing is typically needed when you have a credit score around 640 or lower. This type of auto loan is done through indirect lenders who work with special finance dealerships. Not all dealers have subprime lenders, so choosing the right one to meet your needs is important. Once you have found a dealer with a sub prime finance department, you will need to sit down with the special finance manager, fill out an application and submit the necessary documents.

You will need to provide:

  • A valid driver’s license or state ID.
  • Proof of income – your most recent check stub.
  • Proof of residence – a current utility bill in your name.
  • Proof of a working phone – a landline or cell phone from a national carrier, in your name.
  • Six to eight complete references – including names, addresses, and phone numbers.

Once you have completed this process, the dealer will transmit your application and documentation to the lender. The lender will either approve or deny your loan request. If you are approved, the lender will transmit a “payment call” to the special finance manager with the program you qualify for along with any additional requirements.

Choosing Your Vehicle

Once the lender has approved your auto loan request, the dealer will present you with a list of eligible vehicles that you qualify for, based on the information from the lender. Then, you can test drive them and choose the one you like that best fits what you need.

The good news is your choice of vehicles will typically be restricted to those that are less than 10 years old and with less than 100,000 miles. It is also good to note that your loan term can vary depending on vehicle mileage and model year.

As you can see, when you are dealing with subprime financing, choosing a vehicle comes at the end of the buying process, rather than the traditional loan process where you choose your vehicle first, then get financed.

5 Times When You’re More Likely to Get in a Car Accident

Accidents, collisions, and fender-benders. No matter what you call them, they happen a lot and could affect your auto insurance rate. In Canada, about 335 police-reported collisions happen a day, and while you should always take care when behind the wheel, there are times, or conditions when collisions are more likely to happen.

1. Summer months

Most drivers might think that they’re more likely to get into a collision when conditions are wintery, but the reality is there are more collisions in July than any other month, followed by October and August.

2. Frantic Fridays

Maybe it’s because we’re all in a rush to get home to kick off our weekend, but for many, our, weekends start off on the wrong foot. Almost 17 per cent of all police-reported collisions in Canada happen on Fridays; no other day comes close.

3. The evening rush

Hands down, the evening rush hour (starting at 3 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m.) has the most collisions. This three hour period of the day accounts for 25 per cent of all collisions that happen over the course of the day.

4. Intersections are tricky

Intersections, even with working traffic signals, controls, or signs, prove tricky for drivers because half of all collisions happen at an intersection.

5. Sunny days make drivers gloomy

At 70 per cent, collisions are overwhelmingly more likely to happen on days that are clear and sunny, compared to days when it’s raining, snowing or when visibility is limited due to fog or drifting snow.

Car collisions and your car insurance

Take care, stay safe, and drive carefully to keep your car insurance premiums in check because a collision where you are at fault (even if it is only partially at fault) can be costly. An at-fault collision can increase your premiums as much as 50 per cent. Don’t let an at-fault accident increase your rates. Drive safe and avoid driver distractions to keep your premiums low.

Is Auto Loan Refinancing Right for You?

Refinancing your auto loan means replacing your existing loan with a new one from a different lender. Your current loan gets paid off by the new lender and you start making monthly payments, hopefully, smaller ones, on the new loan.

If you think your credit has improved since you bought your car, you should look into auto loan refinancing. There’s a good chance you can lower your interest rate and end up with a smaller monthly payment. You might also be able to shave some time off the loan, or go the other way and extend the term of the loan if you’re having trouble making your monthly payment.

What’s the catch? There isn’t much of one: It takes some time, and your credit profile might take a slight hit when you apply for the new loan. However, know two important things:

  1. Most auto loans don’t have a prepayment penalty so refinancing won’t cost you anything.
  2. Submitting an application for refinancing has no application fees, and the funds become available quickly, often within a day.

Why you might want to refinance

The prospect of paying less interest or lowering your monthly payments are the main reasons to consider refinancing. Let’s say your current auto loan has a 10% interest rate, and you’ve been making payments for a year or so. Chances are, your credit has improved and you could now qualify for a lower interest rate, which could lower your monthly payments. If you simply went to your current lender and asked it to lower your rate, it would probably say no. After all, you signed a contract at a certain interest rate and the lender wants its money.

Lucky for you, in today’s competitive market, plenty of other lenders are eager to get your business. When you refinance, you simply go to another bank, credit union or online lender and show it how much you still owe, called the balance of the loan. It pays off your existing balance and creates a new loan; and you start sending your monthly payments to the new lender.

If you meet the requirements, refinancing your car loan for a smaller payment could allow you to put more into savings, investing or a home improvement project. Or you may be able to pay off your car sooner. All of these options are better than pouring your money down the drain by paying more interest than you need to on a car loan.

When refinancing your car loan makes sense

Refinancing your auto loan could be the right move for reasons other than your improved credit. Even if you’re satisfied with your current loan, it doesn’t hurt to see if you can save money on interest. It makes sense if:

Interest rates have dropped. Interest rates fall for a variety of reasons: a changing economic climate, increased competition in the banking industry, even regulatory changes. If interest rates are lower now than when you first got your car loan, refinancing is likely to lower your rate and could help you pay the loan off sooner. Or, it could save you money on interest. It only takes a few minutes to apply for refinancing and see if a new lender — a bank, credit union or online lender — will offer you a lower interest rate.

A car dealer marked up your interest rate. When you got your existing loan, the car dealer might have charged you a higher interest rate than you could have qualified for somewhere else. This often happens to shoppers who don’t check their credit score before buying a car. They are persuaded to take the dealership’s loan because they didn’t shop around for the best interest rates. But you can undo the damage by refinancing and getting a new loan at a lower interest rate.

You can’t keep up with payments. Maybe you got overexcited at the dealership and bought a car that’s really too expensive for you. You might be struggling to keep up with payments. Or maybe you’re facing unexpected financial challenges because of a job change or other circumstances. By refinancing your car loan, you can take more time to pay it off, and this will lower your payments. You should think carefully before taking this course of action: If you extend the loan term, you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan. That’s not optimal — but it’s better than damaging your credit by missing payments.

What is Full Coverage? Understanding your Car and Auto Insurance Policy

 

Do you know what the term "full Coverage" actually means when it comes to your Car or Auto Insurance policy? 
The truth is that "full Coverage" is a very loose term that does not have an exact definition. Insurance companies do not offer a full Coverage option for you to pick. The term full coverage is generally associated with comprehensive coverage and collision coverage but can be interpreted many ways.

State Minimum Requirements

Every state in the U.S. has the ability to set its own state minimum requirements for auto insurance. In the State of Florida, The state minimum requirements include 10,000 per person and 20,000 per accident for bodily injury liability and 10,000 in Personal Injury Protection.

Comprehensive
Physical damage for all the things that can happen to your vehicle other than a collision is covered by comprehensive coverage. Full coverage cannot be possible without comprehensive coverage.

Collision
The collision is the coverage that gives you the broadest coverage and is always included in full coverage auto insurance. Collision coverage ensures your vehicle will be covered regardless of what causes the damage. Collision covers damage for all accidents and since collision cannot be purchased without comprehensive coverage anything other than an accident will still be covered.

Additional Coverage that is not necessarily included with Full Coverage 
Towing
Car Rental Coverage
Uninsured Motorist

To be sure you are fully protected from every scenario it is a good idea to talk with your agent and ask him to explain what your policy covers and what optional coverages are available.