Car accidents are very stressful to all parties involved, even if there was minor damage and no injuries. However, our insurance companies lessen our burden and give us some peace of mind knowing everything will be taken care of. It’s important to have your insurance information in your car at all times. On auto claims, Eager says, there are five elements of proof that will come into play: what you tell the insurance companies, what the other party tells them, a police report, witnesses and physical damage at the scene. For those who have never been involved in a car accident or those just looking to be informed, there are simple steps to filing an insurance claim.
Step 1: Take a deep breath
Take a deep breath and try to remain calm. Remember to still have a considerate attitude towards the other party even if they were the ones who cause the accident. Don’t get upset, start yelling, arguing and pointing fingers. This helps absolutely no one, so do your best to remain calm and level headed. Ask if the other person is ok and access if they need medical attention.
Step 2: Call the Police
You may happen to have a person say to you “let’s not involve the police.” Or even “let’s not get our insurance companies involved.” The truth of the matter is, it’s always a good idea to get a police report, and its usually a good idea to involve your insurance company if you or the other party cannot pay for the damages on the spot. The wise thing to do is to call the police, and have the accident documented.
Step 3: Collect information
It’s imperative to get the other persons insurance information, vehicle type, tag number, address, and best contact number. This is to make sure the responsible person will be held accountable and not leave you with the damages.
Step 4: Take pictures
Take plenty of pictures! Make sure that you get all sides of both the vehicles to prevent any confusion or fraud. Sometime there are people out there that will make the damages worse once involved in a car accident to get paid more for their damages. You want your insurance company to pay as little as possible, so that your insurance rate doesn’t go up significantly.
Step 5: Call your insurance company
Call your insurance company as quickly as possible and give them all the information you have collected. Also find out how you can send them the photographs. They will ask a lot of questions about the accident including what caused it, who were the ones involved, if anyone is hurt, if any property has been damaged etc. Answer all their questions as accurately as you can. Remember you are being recorded, so don’t say anything out of context, and be honest.
Step 6: Set up a meeting time with the Insurance Adjuster
After the claim has been filed, an insurance adjuster will call you and ask for your available time to meet. They will check out the damages and issue a check. Remember if you have a deductible, the amount of your deductible will be taken from your damages total. The same also goes for property and physical damages. They will access your loss and injuries and issue a check accordingly. (If this is a part of your policy)
Step 7: Get your car fixed
Lastly you will get your check in the mail usually within a week or two depending on your insurance company, and then you can go and get your car repaired.