Steps to Filing an Insurance Claim
No one ever wants to be in a position where they have to file a car insurance claim, but it can happen due to a major or even minor accident, theft, vandalism, or a natural disaster. A car insurance claim is a request you make to your car insurance company for coverage of repairs or loss. If your claim is approved, you will receive payment based on your car insurance policy’s terms.
Here are steps to filing an insurance claim:
Information needed includes the make, model and year of your vehicle, who was driving, where the accident or situation occurred, the time the accident occurred name of the driver. Describe what happened and the damage to your car.
If another driver is involved, get their name and contact information, their insurer and policy number, their vehicle’s make, model, year and license plate number and state. If there were passengers in the car, get their names and contact information.
If there are witnesses, get their contact information, as well. They can help with determining what happened and who was at fault in an accident.
Photos can tell a lot about an accident, including who is at fault. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and other vehicles involved. Take photos at all angles and include pictures of the surrounding area.
Talk to the police.
If it is a car accident, call the police so you have an official police report, which will be required to file an insurance claim. When the police arrive, tell them what happened but it is best not to admit fault. Leave it to the police and your insurance company to decide.
Call your insurance agent or company.
Call your insurance agent or insurer immediately and tell them what happened, including damage to your vehicle and if you or anyone was hurt or had to be brought to the hospital. They will give you a claim number and an insurance adjuster will contact you soon after.
Check your insurance policy.
Review your insurance policy as soon as you can and find out your coverage and deductible. Your deductible is the amount you need pay before your insurance will cover the balance of costs to repair your vehicle. In some cases, the cost of the damage or repair may be less than your deductible and you may be better off not filing a claim and paying out of pocket than risk having a point against you on your insurance record. Insurance companies are known to increase the premium if one files a claim and they have to pay out. Several claims may lead to cancellation of your policy.
Have your vehicle inspected.
Have your vehicle inspected at a certified repair shop. The inspection will tell you whether it is worth having your vehicle repaired or if it should be deemed a loss. Your insurer will likely ask you to get at least two estimates for the cost of repair.
Your insurance company will either pay the shop directly or compensate you for the repair bills and any medical bills incurred depending on your coverage and deductible. Should there be an issue determining who is at fault, your insurer will likely resolve the issue with the insurer of the other party.
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