What You Should Know about Filing an Auto Insurance Claim
Filing an auto insurance claim after an accident can be an intimidating experience, especially if you believe you bear some responsibility for the accident.
The first thing you need to determine is whether or not the event was serious enough to file a claim. If you believe the damage is not enough that fixing it would cost more than your deductible or you have no intention of fixing the damage, skipping the claim might be the best option.
However, if you are involved in an accident with significant damage, another vehicle, or in which there were physical injuries to anyone involved, a claim is necessary.
First and foremost before you begin your claim, make sure everyone involved is safe and receives any medical attention needed. It might also be necessary to contact law enforcement. You need to file your claim as soon as possible, but the insurance company understands there might be more pressing matters after a car accident.
What you can do at the scene, if safe and possible, is to gather information for your claim. Snap some photos of the scene and jot down the details of the events while they are still fresh in your mind. This can help later when you try to remember exactly what occurred. Also be sure to gather contact and insurance information for other people involved in the accident. Under no circumstances should you admit fault at the scene of the accident because it can cost you a lot in the long run.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Once you are in a safe location and you have some time to discuss the accident with your insurance provider, it is time to make the call. Begin by reviewing your insurance policy. Know what type of coverage you have and what you can expect once your claim begins. Most insurance companies will be upfront with you about your coverage, but it is still important to be prepared.
Be honest with your insurance provider about the events that occurred. If you lie or omit details, it is likely they will find out you were dishonest and they can deny your claim or cancel your policy. You are better off being upfront about the details and if you believe you are treated unfairly you can deal with it later.
Finally, make sure you do not take your vehicle to the auto body shop before filing your claim. Your insurance provider might want to assess the damage or they might require you visit a specific body shop to have the damages fixed. If you take action before involving the insurance company you might find yourself on your own.
If you are interested in learning more about filing an auto insurance claim or you think it’s time to shop around for a new rate, we can help. Try our free search tool to get an idea of rates in your area.