Being in an auto accident is traumatic enough, now you have to deal with your insurance company to file a claim. It can be a stressful and intimidating process, so to prepare yourself for what you will encounter, take a look at the below information to help guide you through the process.
Contacting your Insurance Company – First, you will need to initiate a claim with your insurance company. This can usually be done by phone or online. If you need a little more instruction, filing by phone may be better because a representative will guide you through the process.
Have the Necessary Info – It’s very important when filing a claim that you have every bit of information necessary in order to make this a smooth process. Be ready to provide:
Your policy number
Date of the accident
Location of the accident
Time of the accident
Exactly how the accident occurred
Name, address, license plate, and insurance information for the other parties involved
Name of the police department involved and the name of the investigating police officer
Police report number
The extent of any injuries
The number of passengers involved
The extent of damage to the vehicle
After You File – Once you’ve filed your insurance claim the steps will vary depending on your insurance company. Make sure you ask a lot of questions so you know exactly what is going on and exactly what to expect during the entire process.
Generally, an insurance adjuster will evaluate the damage to your car and you may be asked to get estimates for repairs. Also, be prepared to get a phone call from the other person’s insurance as well. They will ask you to provide your version of what happened and to verify your information. Depending on the severity of your case, you may want to hire an attorney.
Your adjuster will also explain to you what your policy covers and what you can expect to receive for repairs or if your vehicle will be paid off if it is totaled. Depending on your coverage (or the other party’s coverage if they’re at fault) you may be provided with a rental vehicle while your car is being repaired. Your insurance company will investigate the accident and determine who is at fault. Who is at fault will determine the amount of money the insurance company will pay out.
If you don’t believe the insurance company properly identified who was at fault, you can speak to your adjuster to explain their decision and you can also bring forth more proof to justify your questioning. If you are found to be 100 percent at fault, you will be responsible for paying your deductible.
You are able to choose any repair shop that you want when scheduling repairs. If your car is paid off, the insurance company will send you a check directly to pay for the repairs or for what your car is worth if it was totaled out. If you are making payments, the insurance company will generally make the check out to whoever is doing the repairs.