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.