From Collision to Compensation: Expert Tips for Filing Your Car Accident Isurance claim
If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s essential to take necessary steps to ensure safety and comply with the law. One of the critical steps is to file a car accident insurance claim.
To assist you in making vital decisions following a car accident, the Insurance Information Institute recommends the following measures.
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Verify that you are not in any way injured | car accident insurance claim
If you are seriously injured, please do not move and wait for emergency personnel. Call 911 if you are injured or ask someone to call 911 for you.
Make sure your passengers are well taken care of | car accident insurance claim
If someone is hurt, call emergency services immediately or ask a passerby to help. You can check on your passengers if you are not too injured to move.
Safety is your goal | car accident insurance claim
If you’re able, move to the sidewalk or side of the road. You can pull your car over to the side if it’s unsafe to drive or causing danger. If it’s unsafe to drive, you can leave it there and walk to safety.
Call 911 | car accident insurance claim
Calling the police is essential, regardless of whether an accident is a minor fender-bender collision or a major one. In some states, it is legally required. The officers will complete an accident report and record the scene. Your insurer may request a copy of the police report to assist with the claims process. According to the III, if the police are unable to arrive at the scene of an accident, they will complete a report at the nearest station.
Wait for help | car accident insurance claim
Turn off your engine and turn on your hazard light. Use the road flares from your emergency vehicle kit to signal other cars to slow down.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau warns that bandit tow trucks are also to be avoided. These tow truck drivers are not the ones you called, but who stop by and offer their assistance. They may try to convince victims to tow their cars to shady facilities, where they will hold the vehicle hostage and demand an unreasonable amount of money. This could be a scam.
Information exchange | car accident insurance claim
After ensuring that you and your passengers are safe, it’s time to exchange contact information and insurance information with another driver. The III lists the most important information that drivers need to exchange following an accident.
- Contact information and full name
- Number of the policy and insurance company
- Number of the license plate and driver’s license
- Type, color, and model
- Accident location
The III suggests that you refrain from discussing fault with other drivers when you are going over the facts. The adjuster who reviews your insurance claim will determine the fault of the driver based on the inspection of the damaged vehicles and other information. You and other victims are also asked for any supporting documentation such as photographs or a police report.
Take photos of the accident | car accident insurance claim
The III recommends the following steps to protect yourself:
Get the names and badge numbers of all officers responding to your call. Record names and addresses for all involved parties, including passengers in the other vehicle. Take down names and contact information of witnesses. Document the incident thoroughly by taking pictures from all angles of your vehicle to show the damage caused. You might also want to photograph the license plates of the other vehicle. When you file a claim for car insurance, your insurer might ask for a copy, so ask police officers where you can get a copy. To support your claim, you may be able to exchange photos with your insurance. This accident page can be kept in your vehicle to help you keep all the documentation organized.
Notify your insurance company and begin the claims process | car accident insurance claim
While you are on the scene, it is worth calling your insurance provider. You can also report your claim via their mobile app. This will allow them to tell you what they need in order to process your claim and give you an idea of what to expect during the claims process. If your vehicle is damaged, your insurer will arrange for it to be towed directly to a certified body shop.
These steps will help you avoid unnecessary worry and allow you to focus on your insurance company and getting your vehicle fixed as quickly and smoothly as possible, even if you are the most experienced driver left confused by an accident.
What happens when I file a claim with my insurance company
When you file an auto insurance claim, the insurance company will require the information above. You will likely be assigned an adjuster to examine your vehicle and determine the extent of damage, which will help determine the fault in the accident as well as the repair costs.
If your vehicle is totaled, or you need repairs, depending on the coverage you have, you might be eligible for reimbursement for actual cash value of your vehicle.
If necessary, notify the DMV
For guidelines regarding reporting an accident, please consult your local DMV as each state has its own requirements. The criteria may include the extent of damage, injuries sustained, and costs incurred.
Car accident FAQs
What happens if I am involved in an accident that results in me needing insurance?
You can purchase insurance and change auto insurance companies at any time. However, it is not possible to buy insurance to pay for the repair costs after an accident.
What should you do after an accident?
You should follow the above steps and file a claim with insurance. Even if it is your fault, the legal liability will not be established until the investigation by an insurance adjuster. If you have collision and comprehensive insurance, you may be eligible for repairs regardless of fault.
What should you do if an accident happens that isn’t your fault?
Depending on where you live, your insurance company could be responsible for repairs if the other driver is found to be at fault, even if the accident was not your fault. There are states where both insurance companies would be liable regardless of fault. Check with your insurance company to determine if your state is a no-fault state.
What does an insurance company do to assess vehicle damage?
Depending on the coverage you have, you may be reimbursed for the cost of repairing your vehicle, which will be determined by insurance companies.
If the repair costs for your vehicle are prohibitive, it could be declared total. In that case, you could be reimbursed the current market value for your vehicle, but that depends on your policy.
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