A car accident is always a stressful and scary experience, even for a minor collision or accident that causes damage to your vehicle.
The aftermath can be overwhelming, too. From getting help for injuries to assessing damage and contacting authorities, there’s a lot that needs to be done. Fortunately, filing an auto insurance claim after the accident doesn’t have to add to the stress. Below, we cover each step of navigating your auto insurance claim and what to expect throughout the process. Let’s get started!
You may not think you need to contact the police after a car accident, especially if:
However, each state has its own rules about filing a car accident report, depending on the severity of injury or the amount of property damage. And regardless of your state’s rules, it’s still in your best interest to file a report as soon as possible after an accident—even if there was only minor damage. There are a few important reasons why:
Therefore, the best advice is to file a police report regardless of the damages. In fact, your insurer may require that you do so within a certain amount of time, which can range from twenty-four hours to 30 days. You can check with your policy details to make sure you’re filing the report in time.
You should also document everything you possibly can at the scene of the collision. As soon as it’s safe to do so, you should take photos of each vehicle involved from all angles, as well as photos of the surrounding area. If you find yourself being sued or questioned by a police officer, these photos will help to defend your case.
After you’ve called the police to file an accident report, your next step will be to get in touch with your insurance company as soon as soon as possible. This step is critical, even if you believe you weren’t at fault and you plan on filing a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance.
They will walk you through the next steps and tell you what documentation related to the accident you’ll need to send them. Some of the information they’ll ask for includes:
While speaking with your provider, make sure to take notes and write down the claim number they give you, as well as the name and phone number of the agent who helps you.
Once you report your claim to your car insurance company, they will typically assign a claims adjuster to work with you. Their job is to review any potential personal injury claims and inspect the damage to your car in order to get your claim settled and your vehicle repaired.
The adjuster will gather information about the accident and review any potential personal injury claims. Next, they’ll investigate the damage to your car and have you take it to a certified repair shop to perform an inspection. The repair shop will send an estimate to the insurance company, who will use it to determine how much they’ll pay toward your vehicle’s repairs.
If your car isn’t driveable, your insurance adjuster will advise you on the next steps to take. Depending on your policy coverage, your insurer can arrange to have your car towed and provide you with a rental until the repairs are complete.
Whether you meet with the adjuster in person or over the phone, remember that your conversation will be recorded and used when determining who was at fault. Therefore, if you’re filing a personal injury claim with the other driver’s insurance provider, it may be in your best interest to contact a lawyer before meeting with the adjuster.
An important part of the claims process is understanding your auto insurance policy and what it covers. Here are some important things to know or ask about when you file your claim:
In the face of an auto insurance claim, comprehensive coverage is your best defense. The good news? We’re here to take the stress out of your search with all-inclusive policies at rates you can afford. Our online auto insurance quotes are quick, easy, and most importantly—free. Get your quote today and rest easy knowing that in the event of a collision, you and your family will be protected.
After a car accident, it is best to file a car insurance claim with your auto insurance provider as soon as possible. You’ll want to make good documentation of damages with pictures and get a police report if possible to make sure your auto insurance claim goes over smoothly and you can get payment for your auto damage repairs swiftly. Try to get this done as soon as you can as some insurance providers have time limits on making claims.
We review how to file an auto insurance claim in full in this article. However, the first thing to start an auto insurance claim is to call your insurance provider no matter who’s at fault and let them know the details of the car accident. Keep all documentation of the accident and any receipts for car repair you may make. Your car insurance agent will be able to guide you through the process to get your claim approved.
In some situations, if the damage to your vehicle and the costs for repair is less than your insurance deductible (the price you pay to make a claim), it may make more sense to pay out of pocket than to make an auto insurance claim – which usually also raises your overall rates in the long-run.
There are many factors that your car insurance company will take into account as to whether or not your auto rates will go up after making a claim on an accident. They will look at the severity of the accident, who was at fault, overall driving record, and a few other things. Some insurance providers have accident forgiveness and your rates may not increase at all – it will all depend on the specifics laid out in your auto policy.
Depending on your auto insurance provider’s policies and the factors of the claim you are making, your auto insurance rates may not increase when making a claim. However, on average making a claim on your policy for an “at-fault” accident can raise your insurance rates anywhere from 15% – 55%.