What should I do if I am involved in an accident or discover that I need to file an insurance claim for a reason other than an accident (such as vandalism or theft)?
An automobile accident, like any other unexpected event, can be extremely stressful and frustrating. You can reduce your stress by taking steps to ensure that you are fairly compensated for your financial and material losses. The following pointers can assist you both before and after an accident, as well as during the repair and claims processes.
Be Prepared Before an Accident
- Be familiar with your car insurance coverage and how it will react in the event of a claim.
- Know your insurance company’s and agent’s names, phone numbers, and mailing addresses.
- Always carry your insurance card with you. Don’t forget to keep an extra copy in your car with your registration.
Filing Insurance Claim After the Event of Car Accident
- Dial 911. Give the operator detailed information about the incident, including whether you or anyone else involved requires medical attention or towing.
- Photograph or draw a diagram of the scene if possible. It would be helpful if your camera had a date and time stamp.
- If possible, move your vehicle off the road and to the side to avoid impeding traffic flow.
- Speak with witnesses. Obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses to the incident/accident.
- Work with the authorities. Please provide all requested information. Make a note of your incident/accident number, as well as the officer’s name and badge number.
- Take careful notes. Make a note of the location and time of the accident/incident, as well as any other pertinent information (e.g. summary of what happened). Exchange information with other parties involved in the accident, such as the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the drivers and passengers, as well as the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses, and any insurance information for any other vehicles involved (the name of the insurance producer, insurer and the insurance policy number). Make a note of the make, model, and licence plate number of the other vehicles involved.
- As soon as possible, contact your insurer or producer. Report any accident as soon as possible and provide all requested information. Keep copies of all paperwork pertaining to your claim.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible, even if you are at the scene of the accident, regardless of who is at fault. Even if the accident appears minor, it is critical to notify your insurance company and determine whether your auto insurance policy covers the specific loss.
- Start your insurance claim with a mobile app. Many insurance companies now provide apps that allow you to report a claim, check its status, upload photos, check your deductible, schedule an appraisal, reserve a rental car, and request reimbursement for towing and glass claims. Some apps even allow you to visually recreate the events and circumstances of your car accident in order to notify the insurance adjuster.
- Determine which documents are required to support your insurance claim. Your insurance company will require a “proof of claim” form as well as a copy of the police report if you filled one out at the scene of the accident. Your insurer’s website may have a feature that allows you to track the status of your claim.
- Provide the information requested by your insurer. Complete the claim forms completely. Keep detailed and organised records of everything related to the insurance claim, including the names and phone numbers of everyone you speak with at your insurer, as well as copies of any bills related to the accident. If you have any questions, contact your adjuster, an insurance professional, or your state insurance department.
Car Insurance Claim Settlement
Make sure the insurance company has inspected the damage to your vehicle before you begin repairs. Keep in mind that the claims process can be a bargaining ground between you and the insurance company.
Your insurance company may offer you a cash settlement for a totaled car based on the actual cost of purchasing a comparable vehicle.
When determining the value of your vehicle, the insurance company should make comparisons based on the following criteria: models made by the same manufacturer; the same model year; of a similar body type; in a similar condition; with similar options; and with similar mileage; all within a reasonable driving distance of your residence. The company may choose to provide you with a replacement vehicle.
Throughout the Repair Process
After an accident, you have the right to choose the repair shop that will work on your vehicle. An insurance company, on the other hand, is likely to have a list of preferred shops in your area. If you use one of the recommended shops, the repairs are usually guaranteed for the life of the vehicle. It’s also important to remember that if you don’t use a preferred shop, the insurance company is not responsible for any rental car fees incurred as a result of the shop’s delay in making repairs.
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