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Filing a Claim

An auto insurance claim is a request that you file with your insurance company, asking them to pay for property damage, medical expenses, and any other costs resulting from an accident that is covered by your policy. Many people assume that once they have an accident, their auto insurance will automatically kick in, but this is not the case. Like most companies, an insurance provider isn’t going to volunteer to give you money, even though that’s what you’re paying them to do. This is why you will need to file a claim. No money will distributed until the claim is filed and accepted. This article will take you through the process to give you an understanding of how to file a claim.

The Process of Filing an Insurance Claim

The process of filing an insurance claim starts at the scene of the accident. A lot of things go through a person’s mind when they are involved in an accident. It’s a stressful and frightening situation, and if you don’t know what you need to do for your insurance claim, figuring it out at the scene can be very difficult. So, familiarize yourself with the proper procedure of handling an accident and filing a claim right now, before you’re actually involved in a collision.

  • Assess damage.

    First of all, see if anyone is injured and in need of medical assistance. If so, call 911. Make note of any injuries that may have resulted from the accident — your own and anyone else’s. Also, jot down some notes about what is damaged on your vehicle and any other vehicle(s) or property involved. If you’re able to, you should take several detailed pictures of the damage and the scene to be filed with your claim. This will give the insurance company more to work with than just your word.

  • Call the police.

    Inform them of where the accident occurred and if anyone needs medical assistance. Once they are on the scene, they will conduct a police report. Ask the officer how you can obtain the report because having it will make the claim-filing process much more efficient.

  • Gather and exchange information.

    Write down the license plate number, contact information — especially phone numbers — and insurance information of the other party involved, and provide them with your information. Get the name and contact information of the officer(s) that responded to the scene and made the police report. Also, if you can, get the contact information of any witnesses that are willing to give an account of what happened.

  • Contact your insurance company.

    There should be a number for you to call in the event of an accident or to file a claim printed on your insurance card. Your insurer’s representative will ask you to explain what happened and give a description of the damages that resulted from the accident. They will also want the information you gathered from the other party, the officer(s), and any witnesses. In many instances, the representative will call you at another time to get your full report of what occurred, so you may want to take notes about everything that happened to make sure you are able to give an accurate report.

Your insurance company will have forms that they’ll need you to fill out as part of the claims process. These forms vary by company. A representative from your insurance company will tell you what you need to fill out and how to access the forms. Many of the forms can be filled out and submitted online.

Once your insurance company has all of the necessary information, your statement, the statement from the other party, statements from any witnesses, the police report, and all of the required forms, they will begin an investigation into the accident. This may involve sending a claims adjuster to evaluate the situation and make sure it falls under the parameters of your coverage, as well as assess the damage and come up with an estimated cost.

If your claim is accepted, you may have to pay your deductible, and then your insurance will cover the rest. If you are not at fault, the other party’s insurance may cover all of the expenses at no cost to you — not even a deductible. However, if your claim is denied for whatever reason, such as because your policy does not cover the type of damage done to your car, you may be responsible for covering the expenses resulting from the accident. In the event of a denied claim, your insurance company will explain why you were denied, in which case, you may be able to file an appeal and have the claim reevaluated.