How Car Insurance Claims Work
You have had the misfortune of being involved in a car accident. And you have sustained injuries and damage to your vehicle. Now what? How can you get help from your car insurance company? This involves filing a claim. The process is similar regardless of company although each provider may have additional requirements to approve your claim.
Report the Accident
Begin by notifying your insurance agent you have been involved in an accident. Companies have different time frames in which you can file a claim so it is important you notify your agent as soon as possible. You do not want to miss the opportunity for compensation because you failed to meet a deadline.
Your insurance agent will want to see the police report that summarizes that accident. You will be asked to offer your own explanation of what happened leading up to, during, and following the accident. And you need to provide the contact details of the other driver, the make and model of their car, and driver's license information. This is typically exchanged at the scene of the accident.
Get Repair Estimates
You can usually go to any repair shop to get an estimate on what it will cost to get your car repaired. Your insurance company may require multiple estimates or send you to someone they regularly use. Be sure the estimate is detailed and dated.
Gather Medical Bills
It may be awhile before you actually get a bill from medical providers. However, you do not have to wait on these before getting your car repaired. Medical expenses can accumulate over a period of time depending on the specific injuries incurred. Ask your insurance agent how you should handle that aspect of the claim process.
Complete Claim Form
Claim forms are often available on your insurance company's website. Or you can ask for one when you report the accident. Fill it out in its entirety. Contact your insurance agent if you have questions before you send it in. If you fail to answer questions or provide wrong information, your claim can be delayed.
After reviewing all of the information, your car insurance company will determine who is at fault. If they determine the other person is at fault, they may be unwilling to approve your claim in full. This means you will need to file a claim with the other driver's insurance company as well. Some insurance agents will handle this for you. If you are at fault, there is a maximum amount of compensation you are eligible to receive from your own car insurance company if you have the proper coverage.