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Car Insurance Claims

A claim alerts your insurance company that you had an accident and need financial assistance covering any resulting repair, medical, or legal bills. Because each policy is different – what your neighbor’s policy covers most likely is different from what your policy covers – make sure to ask your insurance provider any auto insurance questions about what your policy does and doesn’t cover before you have an accident.

When You Should File an Car Insurance Claim

It may be tempting to forgo filing a claim, especially for minor damage, to avoid raising your premiums. But you should always consult your insurance agent when you have damage or caused damage to someone else’s car or property,

“Since every situation is different, you should always contact your agent for advice,” said Houston-based State Farm agent Theo Franklin. “After speaking with your agent, you can then better determine if you should actually make a claim.” Generally, you should file a claim if you hit someone and caused damage to their property or bodily injury, or if the damages to you or your property are over your deductible.

Types of Car Insurance Claims

Don’t know your first party claims from your second party? Here are some of the terms thrown around when talking about the different types of claims you may file:

  • First party.

    Claims filed with your own insurance company. If you caused an accident, or your car was damaged by an accident that wasn’t a collision, such as vandalism, it would fall under here.

  • Third party.

    Claims filed with the insurance company of the other driver in an accident. You would file a third-party claim if the other driver was at fault, and if the company agrees the driver caused the accident and has proper coverage, you would be covered.

  • Bodily injury.

    If you are injured in an accident, you would file a bodily injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If you live in a no-fault state that requires personal injury protection, you would file with your own insurer.

  • Property damage.

    If your car is damaged in an accident, you would file a property damage claim with the insurance company of the driver who was at fault, or your own insurer if the liability is uncertain.

  • Windshield.

    Windshield damage falls under comprehensive car insurance coverage, which is optional. If you have this coverage, your policy will cover the costs associated with repairing or replacing chipped, cracked, or broken windshields.

Common Car Insurance Claims

Some accidents are more common than others, so knowing what some prevalent auto insurance claims are can help you decide what to have covered under your policy. According to AAG Insurance, some of the most common car insurance claims include:

  • Whiplash
  • Windshield damage
  • Vandalism
  • Fender benders
  • Animal collisions
  • Theft/break-in

Keep in mind that some of these damages, such as animal collisions and vandalism, are covered under optional coverages, meaning they don’t come standard with auto insurance policies.

Filing a Car Insurance Claim

Accidents are unforeseen and unexpected by nature, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare yourself. By knowing what to expect in the event of an accident, it can help you reduce stress and avoid costly mistakes.

Today, many claims are filed online through your provider’s website. There are even apps, like State Farm’s Pocket Agent, that allow you to file a claim, take photos, and check the status of your claim through the app. But if you are unsure of anything, make sure to get in touch with your agent. Read our article about ((filing a car insurance claim)) to understand the precise steps you’ll need to take after an accident.