Car accidents happen. So do thefts, weather damage, vandalism — there are lots of reasons you may have to file an insurance claim. If you know what to expect and exactly how to file, you’ll be ready to handle this task during what’s sure to be a stressful, upsetting moment in time.
Filing an Insurance Claim
These days, filing an insurance claim isn’t a lengthy or complicated procedure. If you have a smartphone, you can take care of your business without a lot of work. Many insurance companies now provide their customers with phone numbers and websites to make it easy.
Step 1: Write down all the details of the claim. You’ll need the date and approximate (or exact) time of the accident, theft or vandalism. Write a description of the problem. When relevant and possible, get all the information about the other car. Their license plate number and insurance information should be included, as well as their phone number and address if possible. Don’t forget to write down the make, model and year of all the cars involved, including yours.
Step 2: Call the police and make an official report. An official police report will make your insurance claim go much more smoothly. Write down your case number so you can report this to the insurance company.
Step 3: Get out your insurance card. This will provide you with a phone number or web address. Use your smartphone to call or access the site.
Step 4: Keep the card out so you can enter your policy number. You may also be asked for your group number and/or Social Security number. The website or an automated phone system will guide you through this login procedure. Select the option to file a claim.
Step 5: Provide all information as prompted. You will probably be asked a series of questions about the nature of your claim. Answer them to the best of your ability.
Step 6: After your claim is officially filed, you must wait for the claims adjuster to contact you. They may have further questions or instructions. In most cases, this can be handled over the phone or through email. Rarely, you may be asked to meet an adjuster face-to-face. Answer their questions, and they will guide you through the process of completing the claim.
What to Expect
If someone else is at fault, you can expect that the insurance company will provide you with compensation for your injuries, if any, and pay for the damage to your car. You may be required to get estimates for damage. If necessary, you will be given a rental car to drive while yours is repaired. The claims adjuster will give you all the information you need. Knowing what to expect when filing a car insurance claim will make the process feel a little easier and a lot less stressful.