We take you though the process of filing an auto insurance claim.
Accidents—both minor and severe—are quite rampant these days. Thus, in the event that you get involved in one, you’ll have to file an auto insurance claim to save yourself from some expenses. An auto insurance claim is a claim made by an individual to an insurance company requesting for compensation.
If you get involved in an accident, and your car was severely damaged, you can file an auto insurance claim to get your car fixed with expenses paid by the insurance company.
Also, if you were the cause of an accident which resulted in the injury of an individual or the damage of the victim’s car, your insurance will cover the medical bills and repair cost of the victim’s car.
These days, car repairs are quite expensive. According to a study conducted by travel-services guru AAA, the average cost for an auto repair is around $500 and $600. So, if peradventure, you were involved in an accident, you’ll want to file an auto insurance claim to escape these expenses and other expenses involved.
Below, we have broken down the steps involved in this process.
Talk to the Police
The police are the first person you should contact after an accident. Filing an auto insurance claim requires a detail report of what happened at the scene of the accident. As a result of the trauma and the shock, you may be unable to assess what happened at the scene. On the other hand, the police will be able to comprehensively assess the situation and provide you with the necessary assistance you need.
Also, in case you require medical assistance, the police will contact the necessary responders for immediate help. You may also require the police’s help if the involved party is bent on causing trouble, or harbors the intention to hurt you. All in all, the police report is key to filing an auto insurance claim and getting the compensation you need.
File an Accident Report
After an accident, you are required to file an accident report with the police or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In some states, taking this step is vital while in some, it isn’t.
So, to ensure you do the right thing and aren’t caught off-guard, contact your insurance agency. Or you can speak with a representative in your state’s commissioner office. Doing so will ensure that you take the appropriate steps and follow the due guideline.
When filing an accident report, you may need the following information.
- The location and time the accident took place.
- Information of the individuals involved in the accident
- A detailed report of injuries sustained or impairment to vehicles of the parties involved.
Record details of the accident
To successfully file an auto insurance claim, you’ll need to tender several documents and reports to prove that your claim is genuine. One of those reports is your car accident information list. A car information list will help you note the info required to file your claim. It is also very essential that you record details of the accident, as this will come in handy.
Contact your Insurance Company
After an accident, you are required to contact your insurance company. This should be done from the scene of the accident, once you are safe and able to talk. Your insurance company will tell you what you need to do and the information they require.
If your vehicle was badly damaged, your insurer might suggest that you find a way to transport yourself and your car. Your insurer may also make provision for your car to be towed and provide means for you to return home.
However, this benefit depends on what your insurance covers. Failure to contact your insurance company may result in you making a mistake that could ruin the whole process. Remember, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
You will be assigned an expert.
After informing your insurance company about the accident, they will appoint a claim expert, like an adjuster to assist you. It is the job of this professional to speak on your behalf during meetings with other insurance companies, or a third party. As an expert, they know how to handle such situations for your best interest.
Aside from representing you in meetings, this expert will also carry out the necessary investigation to ensure that you get your clam and your vehicle receives the fixing it needs. You may not meet your adjuster in person. The individual may simply contact you over the phone to discuss your case.
Your adjuster will likely want to know the location of your damaged car. If it is a repair shop, the individual will contact the repair shop to find out the repair costs.
In some situations, the insurance company, via your claim expert, will specify where your car will undergo its repairs. Insurance companies will ways give the job out to auto-mechanics who can guarantee quality work, hence the decision to select a repair garage.
It is also your adjuster’s job to analyze any personal injury claim and make the necessary payment that will cover your hospital bill.
All insurance companies require information to act accordingly. When there is a lack of information, your insurance company may not know how to handle your situation. So, always ensure that you provide them with the right and accurate information so that all matters regarding your claim will be settled swiftly.
Understanding the Diminished Value Claim
After an accident, your car loses some of its value. With a diminished value claim, you can get compensated for some of the lost value. The compensation for a diminished value claim is quite different from that meant for normal repairs.
In the event that you suffered a massive loss after an accident, you may want to file a diminished value claim which usually depends on your situation and where you reside.
Total Loss Claim and Gap Insurance Coverage
Sometimes, accidents can be severe that they cause serious damage to your vehicle, making the repair cost exceed the value of the car. If you are concerned about this, you may want to speak with your claim expert about the gap insurance aspect of your claim. Gap insurance coverage are added features which are usually bought with your insurance coverage,
Besides contacting your adjuster about the possibility of a gap insurance coverage, you may also want to determine how the overall loss will be estimated and the schedule for remitting the claim.
Car Repair Bill and Claim Remission
As soon as your adjuster is done with the necessary investigations, the individual will divide the approximate cost needed to fix your car. At this point, it is important you find out if there exists a deductible you may need to remit and how the insurance claim will progress.
The estimated cost would involve a summary of the work at hand, and if the insurance company will adopt aftermarket or common components. After you and the claim expert have reached an agreement, the task can start.
If your insurance company fails to sign off repairs for one reason or another, you may not get the cash needed to fix your car. Always ensure that you work closely with your insurance company. Also, give them the time to access the situation so that they can make the necessary payment.
Don’t, for any reason, sign off any repair without the consent of your insurance company. Relax and let them do their job. If you end up making certain repairs yourself without the insurance company’s approval, you may not get your money back.
Coverage for a Car Accident or Claim
Claims can be paid from several sections of your policy, such as the comprehensive coverage, collisions coverage etc. However, the source for the payment of your claim depends on the nature of your car accident. Your insurance company can offer coverage based on the content of your car insurance policy concerning the party liable for the crash, and the type of wreck that took place.
Your insurance company has to see that all damages are well taken care of. Work closely with your claim expert to make sure that all is done accordingly. If you have any questions or concerns, direct it to this expert.
If you have Issues with your Claim
Sometimes, issues may arise when trying to file an auto insurance claim. When this happens, don’t hesitate to speak with a representative of your insurance company. If you don’t understand a certain process or don’t know what to do in a particular situation, talk with your insurance company representative.
If you feel like your insurance company isn’t handing your case the way they ought to, reach out to your state commissioner’s office to inquire on the step to take. Also, if you aren’t satisfied with the services rendered by your insurance company, you might want to consider ditching them for a better alternative;
Importance of Filing an Auto Insurance Claim after an accident
It is crucial you file an auto insurance claim after an accident, or you risk losing out of the compensation for injuries sustained and damages to your vehicle. Insurance companies have the right to refuse your compensation if you contact them later than when you should.
So, if you were involved in an accident, don’t hesitate to contact your insurance company and inform them of the crash. Later might be too late, contact them after the accident and wait for further instructions.
If you caused the accident, don’t wait for the other party to file an auto insurance claim. Proceed to call your insurance company, so they are aware. Filing an auto insurance claim is quite easy. Where the challenge lies is after the claim has been filed. At this point, you may need the help of a competent lawyer to guide you through the whole process.