Accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Even good drivers can get into horrible accidents. Knowing what to do if your car is involved in a collision, gets stolen, or gets damaged by fire or flood will help you avoid some of the headaches and red tape involved in the process.
4 Steps in Filing an Insurance Claim
Filing an insurance claim is making a formal request to your auto insurance company. This way, you can receive money to help pay for repairs, medical costs, and other expenses covered by your policy. Here’s how you can put your auto insurance to work for you:
- Call your insurance agent immediately. Whether you are at fault or not, contact your agent or any insurance representative at once. Even if the accident seems minor, you must inform your auto insurance company about the incident. This way, you will find out whether your policy can cover you for a particular loss.
- Provide sufficient documents to support your claim. Follow the directions your insurance agent tells you to provide all documentation related to the accident. This step will usually require you to fill out a proof of claim form. You may also need to provide a copy of the police report.
- Secure copies of all your documentation related to the accident. Keep organized records of any information related to the claim. If possible, jot down detailed notes following conversations about the accident. These should include names of people you spoke with, where they live, what they said, the date and time, and how you can contact them. Take photos of the car accident and record details of the vehicles involved. If you’re hurt, keep any reports from the doctor and medical bills proving you received treatment for injuries sustained from the accident.
- Ask your agent about the deadline and other pertinent information. Find out from your insurance agent the time limitations involved in filing your claims and submitting bills. Confirm if there is also a time limit for resolving claims disputes. Additionally, it’s recommended to determine whether your policy covers a rental car while your vehicle is under repair. If so, how much will it cover? Lastly, ask when a representative from the auto insurance company will call you to follow up.
Many auto insurance companies now offer web applications that will let you report a claim, upload pictures, review the status, monitor your claim’s progress, and compare your deductible. Others also provide features to let you arrange for an appraisal, make rental car reservations, and even request compensations for towing claims.
What to Expect When You File a Car Insurance Claim
After filing your initial claim, expect the adjuster to contact you for more information or fill out additional forms. Your auto insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to investigate what happened. Their job is to provide you with the pertinent details of the claims process. They will also let you know what’s covered in your policy and for how much. As soon as they complete the validation and approve your claim, you’ll receive a check in the mail to help pay for your losses.
Some auto insurance companies may ask you to meet with a claims advisor. Others may direct you to go to a preferred service provider or specific repairs center to fix your car.
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