Car Insurance: The Fundamental Guide to Understanding a Policy
How to file a car insurance claim; a handy guide
You can meet car accidents anywhere anytime. Most car accidents are a result of human error.
Even though you are not at fault or driving carefully, a distracted driver on the other lane can cause you severe damage. Drunk drivers, on the other hand, can also cause you serious trouble.
Many causes are leading to a severe car accident. Whatever the reason may be, if you hold the right type of insurance in place, it could protect you from financial ravage.
To get relief from damage caused by a car accident, you should know the proper procedure about “how to file a car insurance claim.”
In this handy guide, we’ll discuss when and how you can file car insurance to get you some relief from financial stress caused by a car accident.
What is a car insurance Claim?
A car insurance claim is a formal request by you to your insurance company about the event (such as a car accident) that comes under your car insurance policy to get a refund to repair loss or expenses that occurred in the result.
The paperwork follows the car insurance claim, and then an insurance adjuster sent by the insurance company will visit you to investigate the incident. Once the adjuster validates the request, it will get approved, and your insurance company will issue a check to compensate for your loss.
According to research, car insurance claims for collision damage have shown a rising trend of about 6% than in 2017. So you might not be filling a car insurance claim now, but the possibility is that you might be doing so soon.
Therefore, it’s better to know the procedure now to avoid any inconvenience in the future.
When should you file an insurance claim?
When dealing with car insurance claims, one might have a question in his mind, “How long do you have to file an insurance claim?”.
The answer depends upon the situation.
As a good rule of thumb, you should not consider claiming every single penny after the event of an accident. Let’s say your damages are far more than your deductibles; then, in that case, you may end up claiming everything. Otherwise, if your loss is slightly above your deductibles, then there is no need to take all the pains filing a claim for a minimal expense.
Let’s suppose you experience a minor collision, and your car paint leaves a scrape on a pearl white SUV. Your current deductibles are $1,000, but the cost of total damages is $1,200 (a $200 increase from your deductible). Going through all the trouble and extra effort wouldn’t be wise for the additional $200 coverage.
In such minimal cases, chances are your insurance provider can increase your premium rates. Even if it was the other person’s fault, getting insurance involved for minor damages ends up making the additional $200 look like an extra $2,000.
So, it could end up benefitting you more by exchanging information with the other party than to claim insurance coverage for a $200 loss and bear a higher premium.
However, you should consider going through the process of a car insurance claim if your damage is severe and it makes sense financially.
When should you file a claim?
- If you or anyone else is injured
Medical bills add up. If you or any other person become injured from the accident, you should consider filing a claim. PIP (personal injuries protection) or MedPay comes in handy during cases of minor to severe injuries to help avoid too many medical bills.
- If you are not sure who’s at fault
When you are not sure who is to blame for the loss, your insurance company can then legally represent you and decide who’s at fault to figure out the damages caused.
- If your car is totaled
Say you suffer a total loss on your vehicle, and you can’t afford to purchase a new car or repair all the damages incurred. It would then help if you considered filing for a claim to replace the costs caused by the incident.
Most insurance professionals recommend utilizing a professional insurance agent to get an estimate of filing your total loss. Luckily, Versured hires plenty of well-trained agents who are ready to help you during a time of crisis at a moment’s notice.
How to file a car insurance claim
The sooner you file a claim, the more relaxed the process will be. Early-birds tend to find themselves avoiding headaches and red tape when registering for an auto claim. If you succeeded in getting your process smoothly, it would help you better value your insurance claim. The following steps help during the event of an accident, a stolen vehicle, auto damaged due to flood, fire, or any other type of vandalism.
Step 1: Report to the police about the incident
The very first step is to call the police immediately. It may seem intimidating at first, but it is wise for multiple reasons to make sure the police are involved.
Immediately after an accident, it is common not to be fully aware of what’s going on. Involving both the police and insurance agencies will help prevent bias, unclear stories, or partial truths and are in your best interest.
The police investigate the cause behind the incident and sort out the reason for the accident. A crime report will help you make the insurance process smooth, quick, and easy to get your claim.
Step 2: Gather information and document everything
After making sure that you and anyone else involved are safe from the accident, documentation can help strengthen your testimony.
We recommend documenting the following to prove your claim:
- Record on video — more than 66% of adults own a smartphone, and even among the 33% typically own a cell phone with a camera on it. Filming areas of damage and cause of the incident will offer evidence for your story.
- Take photos — if you are unable to film, this is the second-best option.
- Collect each party’s full name and contact information at the very least. Be mindful of their privacy and well-being as they are to you, especially in such a vulnerable situation.
- Obtain the vehicle information (driver’s ID, car year/make/model, license plate number) and include the insurance company and policy number.
- Your video/photos may have it all recorded, but sometimes it is helpful to note your surrounding area’s weather conditions.
- Take notes of the conversation you had with all the parties involved in the car accident.
- Keep a list of damaged or stolen items during the accident.
- Hold onto the receipt of your hotel expense as well; many insurance policies allow for reimbursement.
Step 3: Get in touch with an agent from your insurance company
Contact your insurance agent and ask them about any requirements you need to provide to file your auto insurance claim. The agents know the ins-and-outs of a filing process, and they will guide you in the right direction to figure out your application.
Where do I report my claim?
If the other driver is found at-fault, then you would want to contact their insurance company. In any other case, you’ll have to file a claim through your insurance agency. Either way, we recommend you involve your insurance provider.
How long it takes to file a car claim?
During the case of a pure accident, the claim could take as little as one to two weeks to resolve. Or, depending upon the complexity of your case, it might take months and, even during rare cases, as much as two years.
Hence, the reason to get all the required information to your insurance sooner rather than later.
Insurance companies want to earn your business and will do their best to get your claim filed as soon as possible. The customer is king, right?
What information should I provide for my agent to claim car insurance?
Typical questions we ask are when and how the incident took place, how many people were involved, and all other additional information regarding the vehicles. An insurance provider may ask for a list of items damaged and the cost of repair during the event of the accident.
Step 4: Filling your claim
The final step consists of contacting the relevant people; after gathering all the information, you needed to file that claim.
You can file your car claim online or through our chat. You can also contact your insurance company through phone calls or talk to their insurance agent and fill or send your insurance claim through email or fax.
What will happen once you have filled your car insurance claim?
Once everything is in place and you have filed your claim along with all the necessary documents, your insurance company will send their insurance adjuster to examine the incident thoroughly and to tie all loose ends. After documenting everything, the insurance adjuster will make a recommendation note to give his final verdict for how much compensation the insurance company owes for damages incurred.
Something to consider while dealing with the other party’s insurance adjuster is to keep a record of your documents and notes carefully. Chances are the other person’s insurer will try to minimize the cost of their reimbursement; your documentation can benefit you, so they cannot downplay your losses.
- A car insurance claim is a formal request from you to your insurance company about the incident.
- The sooner you file your car insurance claim, the easier the process and more relaxed you will be.
- Keep a record of your documents and the other party’s as well to avoid large payouts.