After getting in a car accident, your world may seem like it flipped upside down. What do you do next? How do you file an insurance claim? Filing a claim doesn’t take much brain power. However, you must ensure you provide enough information and evidence to your insurance company to prevent any delays or errors.
Filing a claim can help you pay for property damage, medical expenses, legal fees, and even loss of salary if you miss work. It’s important that you read your policy and contact your insurance agent to help you with your next steps.
Saferoad Insurance aims to inform and protect every driver they partner with. That said, here’s the complete guide to filing a car insurance claim.
What Is a Car Insurance Claim?
A car insurance claim is a request for compensation from an insurance company for vehicle damage or bodily injury after an auto accident. Different types of auto insurance coverage address accidents, and you can’t file a claim unless you have that coverage.
It’s your responsibility to communicate with your insurance provider to see which coverage you have included in your policy.
How Do I File an Insurance Claim?
Although the world of insurance may seem confusing and intimidating, there are only three main steps to filing a car insurance claim:
- Gather your evidence and relevant information.
- Contact your insurer.
- Negotiate a settlement.
However, below, we have a guide for filing an auto insurance claim to help explain further.
Gather All Relevant Information and Evidence
You need to gather all evidence and documentation related to the accident to prepare for filing an auto insurance claim. Before calling your insurer, you need to contact the police and record the details of the accident.
Document the accident with pictures, videos, and a written summary. Get information about the other driver, such as their name, contact information, license plate number, vehicle make and model, and all their insurance information.
When you’re writing your summary, include as much detail as possible. Adding every detail will prevent mistakes and loopholes that could impair your claim.
Do NOT apologize, accept fault, or tell the other driver your coverage limits. The other party could try to pin the accident on you or find a way to avoid paying for damages.
Contact Your Insurance Company
After gathering all information and documentation needed to file a claim, you need to contact your insurance company. Doing so will notify your insurance company of what’s going on and officially initiate the claim.
Your provider will open a file regarding your case, and you will be asked to provide them with information about the nature of the accident. While speaking to an agent, you should specify the total compensation you’re requesting.
The more information you provide your insurer, the quicker the process.
Work With a Claims Adjuster
Once you’ve opened a case, your insurance company will review the material, and you will be assigned a claims adjuster. They will help you determine the damage’s value and appropriate compensation based on your policy and the information given to them.
Your adjuster will manage your case on behalf of the insurance company to ensure that every necessary step is taken to settle your claim. It’s important to know that the claims adjuster may ask to meet in person and see your damaged vehicle.
Get a Report From the Adjuster
Once the adjuster has considered all the information you’ve provided them, including your policy vehicle damage, you will get an estimate of the cost of repairs. From there, your insurance company will take this estimated number and determine how much they will compensate you for repairs and medical expenses if you’re injured.
Accept the Payment
After working with the adjuster, they will authorize the final payment. You can negotiate a deal with your provider if your settlement offer is unsatisfactory. Use all your evidence and documents, such as medical records, police reports, and comparable compensation, to help your case.
However, if your payment is satisfactory, you will sign a release form accepting the offer as payment in full for the auto insurance claim.
When Do I File a Car Insurance Claim?
You should file an auto insurance claim when your car needs costly repairs or a full replacement after sustaining damage or if you’ve been injured in a car accident. However, if the damage to your vehicle costs less than your deductible and no one else was involved or injured, you can skip filing a claim.
Below are the different insurance coverages and when you would file a claim.
Suppose another driver struck you or caused substantial damage to your car. In this case, file a claim with their liability policy. Their insurance company will handle all your medical and auto expenses.
You can file a claim with your collision policy when the accident is your fault. If the fault is unclear, you should file under comprehensive and collision until the insurance company can determine who is at fault. Once they determine who is at fault, you will get coverage under both or one policy.
Sometimes the worst can happen, so it’s best to prepare. File a claim with your own comprehensive insurance policy when something other than a collision causes damage to your vehicle, such as falling objects, theft, vandalism, fire, and more.
Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
You never know whom you’re sharing the road with. File this claim with your underinsured motorist coverage after you’ve had an accident with an at-fault underinsured or uninsured driver.
When Shouldn’t I File?
Check with your insurance agent to confirm what your policy covers. Knowing what your policy covers can help you compare your out-of-pocket expenses to your deductible. Working with an agent allows you to determine when it’s appropriate to file. You may want to file for minor cases, such as a small scratch or fender bender.
Ultimately, you will save a lot of time and avoid rate increases by not filing a claim over a minor incident. You won’t receive compensation if the deductible exceeds what you would pay out-of-pocket. Only file a claim if the repair costs slightly exceed your deductible.
At Saferoad Insurance, we want the absolute best for our customers by offering affordable rates and valuable information to take with you throughout your driving journey. We hope our guide to filing a car insurance claim provides you with the information you need to move forward.
If you need cheap car insurance in California, we’re always happy to help! Contact us today to speak with one of our knowledgeable agents to receive the best rates.