As most people will agree, filing an insurance claim is a complex and stressful process. We are initially left with the car that often needs an expensive tow and repairs, and then left to worry about the many details which must pull together. If you play your cards right; you can speed up the claim process and minimize stress.
Immediately inform local law enforcement at the scene of the accident. Failing to do so is not only illegal, but if the other party decides to file a claim, you’ll have less of a case.
Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. The sooner you get the ball rolling, the sooner the process can be concluded. In addition, swift and accurate reporting benefits you.
Contact your agent to let them know what happened, even if you don’t make a claim. If someone else makes a claim on your policy, the insurance company will be less surprised, and may be more lenient in the future.
Use specific, factual information when speaking to law enforcement and your insurance agent.
Fully understand your insurance policy. Take a good look at it before talking to your insurer.
Maintain a careful record of conversations you have pertaining to the car accident. This includes what the other party says, the police officer, and anyone at your insurance company.
Photograph any damage or injury that occurred as a result of the accident. This will serve as evidence to support your claim.
Do your estimate research. Your company is likely to offer a settlement based on their own contractors. However, the actual repair expense may be much more, in which case, you should negotiate the settlement.
Follow any guidelines set forth by your policy. This includes time limits on claims and required actions to take. Failing to adhere could result in the loss of the claim.
Ensure that your insurer is holding up their end of the deal. You have both signed a legally binding agreement, and if you feel they are in breach of contract, consult a lawyer.
Allocate blame or express opinions regarding the accident. If you claim fault prior to investigation, you will likely lose the claim. Even if fault seems obvious, there may be more factors at work, of which you are unaware. Leave opinions to the investigating officer and the insurance adjuster.
Leave without collecting insurance, automobile (or property), and contact information from the other party. If both parties have a complete set of facts, the process can proceed much more smoothly.
Make insurance claims on a regular basis. If you make too many claims in too short a time, you’ll be categorized as high risk. This can result in higher premiums or even a loss of your policy. Only make claims that are absolutely necessary.
File a claim if the damage is under your deductible. This will help decrease claim frequency.
Accept any payment, sign any legal documentation until you are fully prepared to do so. This means fully understanding the terms of the agreement. When in doubt, consult a legal professional.
Accept inferior service from the insurance company. It’s their job to insure you.
By being factually accurate, diligent in your record-keeping, and uncompromising with poor service, you can help achieve the settlement you desire. When making a car insurance claim, maximizing your knowledge is critical to your success.
Any incident involving your car usually involves frustration, although your insurer can often offset much of the initial cost. By following the above outlined recipe you can often save yourself on unnecessary expenses on your car insurance .
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