Filing an auto insurance claim typically involves contacting your insurance agent, filling out an official claim form and receiving a check for damages, once your claim has been reviewed by an adjuster. Most claims are handled within a few days, though in more complex situations, further investigation may be required, which can prolong the process. Following these steps will help to make the process of filing your car insurance claim as quick and easy as possible.
Report the Accident
The first thing to do, in the event of an accident, is to contact the police. Call 911 if anyone has been seriously injured, otherwise call your local police department directly. Exchange phone numbers and insurance information with all parties involved.
Document the Accident
Take photos or video of the scene and make notes of anything that may be pertinent to your claim, such as road conditions, traffic signs, or weather. Keep in mind that if the damage is minimal and nobody was injured, the police may not file a report. This means that your account of the incident may be the only evidence to support your claim – so be as thorough as possible.
Get an Official Report
If you were involved in a collision with another vehicle, it’s important that you have a police report to support your claim. If officers on the scene are reluctant to file an official accident report, politely insist that a report be filed.
Decide Whether or Not to File a Claim
You’re never obligated to file a claim with your insurance provider. If you’re at fault and the damage is less than your deductible, filing a report with your insurance provider will only increase your premiums.
Prepare Your Statement
In the event of a claim involving another party, you’ll be contacted by the other party’s insurance provider to complete an interview, during which you will explain your account of events leading up to the accident. Before you take this call, prepare your version of events and write it down, so that your report will be as clear and consistent as possible.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Contacting your insurance provider should be your first priority, after contacting the police. Your insurance agent will be able to provide you guidance throughout the process, and your policy may also require that you report the accident within a certain period of time.
File Your Claim
When you file your claim, be sure to get a claim number and the contact information for the adjuster that will be handling your claim. Also, make sure that your claim is consistent with any statements provided to the police or the other party’s insurance provider.
Wait for the Check
Assuming there are no complications, the adjuster will assess the damage, estimate the cost of repairs or the cash value of the car in the event of a total loss, subtract your deductible, and issue a check.