Filing an insurance claim can be a nightmare. From paperwork to adjustors, tow trucks to auto shops, there are many elements to your claim, and all require careful attention. It can be done easily, or you may encounter the need for information you didn’t obtain; knowing what you need to know is important to filing a successful auto insurance claim. Here are a few helpful hints to help you stay on top of your claim to ensure a speedy and (hopefully) hassle-free process.
Document, Document, Document
One can never document too much when it comes to your claim. From the moment an accident occurs, you have a responsibility – both legally and to your carrier – to obtain certain information that will identify the other driver, allowing you to report the incident to the satisfactory of your provider. You must always ask for the other driver’s license, registration and insurance information.
Write down their full name and contact information, and policy number. Make sure to get the license plate, make and model of the vehicle, and note any damage that is visible, as a result of the accident, and any major flaws not associated with the accident. Note the time and date, witnesses and their contact information, and if possible, take any statements they make regarding the incident.
If the police are unable to report to the scene and make a report, it is your responsibility to obtain as much information about the event as you can, to provide the authorities and your insurance company the opportunity to adequately and effective investigate your claim.
File an Accident/Police Report
Anyone who has ever filed an accident report knows how tedious it can be. From reconstructing the accident to listing any injuries sustained as a result, accident reports can feel like a waste of time. However, if you do not file an accident report, your insurance company may be forced to reject your claim altogether.
Witness statements are a key factor in helping the insurance companies determine fault, and without that information, it’s a he-said, she-said situation. Note as much information as you can on the report to aid your insurance company in their investigation, including weather conditions and other key factors. And in the event the other party chooses not to file a claim and you do, then you are better protected.
Communicate with your Insurance Company
Staying in touch with your agent or adjustor can mean all the difference in the world when filing an insurance claim. Your carrier will want to send an adjustor to look at your vehicle to determine the extent of the damage. Then the adjustor will tell you the value of your damage, and what the provider is willing to cover.
In some cases, your agency will allow you to choose the auto shop to repair the vehicle; however, some insurance companies have a “preferred list” of shops and mechanics they know and trust that can do the job, most often at a better rate. This could result in your insurance rates not being increased (or raised as much) and your insurance company will appreciate the cooperation. Remember, you are the customer, and your carrier is working for you. Keeping in contact with your provider is a must for a smooth claim process.