If you have been in an accident and need to file an auto insurance claim, you may think that it is as easy as making one phone call that will make everything fall into place. This is not the way things work though. Filing an insurance claim following an accident is not the most complicated procedure that ever was, but it is not as simple as saying “I have been in an accident. Take care of this for me, would you?” There are steps you must take to successfully file your claim and you will find them listed below. This is basic information and may vary depending on the state where the accident occurred.
While you are still at the accident scene, call 911. This will alert law enforcement that there has been an accident, and you need them to be there even if it was a minor event. In order to file a claim for an accident, there must first be a police report filed.
Get the other parties information. You want to have their name, contact information and auto insurance information. This will help make your claim filing go smoother.
If there were witnesses to the accident, get their information as well. When filing an auto insurance claim, you want all the information you can get. This makes the process easier.
Contact your insurance company right away. Having your insurance card with you is always a good idea for just such an occasion. The person you speak to will help you with the claim filing process. Even if you are not the one who caused the accident, you want to take this step. It is always recommended that you file a claim with your own insurance company since each company is out to protect the best interests of their own clients. Just because you are filing a claim when you are not at fault does not mean you are in any way accepting responsibility. You are simply covering all the necessary bases.
If the other party is indeed at fault, contact their auto insurance company as well. You should inform them that you have filed a claim through your own company and they will be seeking reimbursement since you are not at fault. Let them know that your company will also be seeking damages for all the things that they will not be paying for you. This includes all expenses that you are not covered for under you own policy.
You will likely get a call very soon after the accident from the responsible party’s insurance company. Speak with your carrier to find out what you should or should not say to them. Also, if there is issue with personal injury, you should speak with your attorney before you talk to the other insurance company in order to best protect your interests. If you choose to speak with them, write down or record the conversation as they will be doing the same.
An adjuster will be coming to look at the damage done to your car. They will estimate what it is worth and either repair it or declare it a total loss. The insurance company will give you a check for the vehicle itself or for the estimated repairs. You do not have to agree with the adjuster’s estimation or price offer. If you are unsure of how to proceed, speak with your insurance company or attorney.
Your claim has now been filed and it is up to you, the carriers and maybe an attorney how to carry on from here.
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