How do I file a claim?
After an accident, you should call your insurance agent and ask for instructions about filing a claim. The agent may take your information and file the claim for you or give you instructions on how to file yourself. In some cases you may need to take your car to a claim office.
Evaluate whether or not you should file a claim.
Did you know that just when you call your car insurance company with a question about possibly filing a claim it is often recorded on your car insurance record? It is important to keep your car insurance record clean and one way is deciding whether or not you should file a claim. It doesn’t matter if the car accident is your fault or not, you should ask yourself first if you can pay for the damage. Simply put, if you can pay for it yourself without financial hardship, don’t file the claim.
Fill out your What to do After an Auto Accident Worksheet.
This worksheet, which when you click on the title is provided for print-out, will help you keep track of the information you will need to file your auto insurance claim. It is important to get every detail of the accident documented and to try to find witnesses that would be willing to talk to your car insurance company to back-up your story.
File the claim ASAP.
You will want to file the claim as soon as possible with your car insurance company. Even if it is not your fault, your car insurance company will handle the claim process as your advocate.
Prepare for a possible call from the other car insurance company.
If there is a dispute between the two parties in the car accident, you may get a call from the other driver’s car insurance company asking for your version of what happened at the car accident scene. If this happens make sure you document everything you say and the name of the customer service agent you talked too.
Finally, getting your car fixed.
If you had body damage to your vehicle this is when you will finally get it fixed. After your claim is approved, you will likely get a call from your auto insurance company about sending an insurance adjuster out to assess the damage or asking you to send your car to a pre-approved shop to get it fixed.
You may be entitled to a monetary settlement for injuries caused by another at fault (liable) party. It can take several days for some injuries to become apparent.
The auto insurance company is responsible to pay for the reasonable cost of repairs to your vehicle. An insurance adjuster will assess the damage. Usually, car insurance companies and auto body shops negotiate disagreements about what should be repaired. If you disagree with their conclusions, you have the right to obtain another appraisal at any auto body shop.
Most auto insurance policies include an appraisal clause, which can be used to help settle disputes about physical damage claims between you and your car insurance company. (The appraisal clause does not apply for claims you file with the other party's auto insurance company.) If you cannot reach an agreement with your company, you or your insurer can initiate the appraisal clause. Your appraiser and your insurer's appraiser then select an independent umpire to try to resolve the dispute. Check your auto insurance policy or ask your agent or car insurance company for more information about the appraisal clause.