No one likes the idea of being in an auto accident, but if you are you should know what to do to make sure that your auto insurance claim is filed properly.
Step 1: Alert the Authorities
If you have an auto accident, hopefully no one will be seriously injured, but if there is a medical emergency, getting help should be top priority. Regardless of how major the incident; do your best to stay calm and call the proper authorities. If medical assistance is needed dial 911, if there is no major injuries call the police directly so they may get a report that you will need to help file your claim.
Step 2: Exchange Information
Consumer report advises: “At a minimum, get the other vehicle’s license-plate information. You should also get the other driver’s name, address, driver’s license number, insurer’s name and policy number, and vehicle-registration details. Note how many passengers were in the other vehicle to head off bogus injury claims. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses. Use your cell-phone camera to take photos of the scene from all angles.”
Step 3: Find Witnesses
Finding of fault is very important so it’s imperative to make sure you get information in writing from anyone who’s witnessed the accident. If there are no witnesses be sure you receive a copy of the accident report from the officer called to the scene.
Step 4: Contact the Insurance Company
Most insurance companies provide a toll-free number to file a claim. Check your card or other policy information to see if there is a number. If there is a phone number, you’ll want to file a claim as soon as possible after the incident. Additionally, some insurance companies provide an online option for filing the claim. Be sure to have on hand the necessary information before beginning the claim process.
What You May Be Asked For When Filing A Claim:
According to the DMV.org the following information is needed to file a claim:
- Policy number (can be found on your insurance card).
- Date of the accident.
- Location of the accident.
- Description of how the accident occurred.
- Name, address, license plate, and insurance information for the other party involved.
- Name of the police department involved (if applicable).
- Police report number (if applicable).
Step 5: Work with the Adjuster and / or Visit a Certified Repair Shop
Some insurance carriers will send an adjuster to look at your vehicle to assess the damage. Do whatever you can to help assist them in this process. Additionally you may be asked to visit a certified repair shop (check to make sure it is one your insurance company accepts) to get an estimate of cost to repair the damage.
- Consumer Reports: Insurance Claims
- Bankrate.com’s Guide to Insurance
- DMV.org: Tips For Filing A Car Insurance Claim