Statistics show that most of
us have been involved in an accident, whether or not we were behind
the wheel. But of those who have been in an auto accident, how many
of us knew offhand the correct steps to follow in this situation?
And many auto insurance consumers may not know the quickest and
easiest route to filing a claim with your insurance company.
an educated insurance consumer, you should know the basic steps
involved in filing an automobile insurance claim. Accidents are
always unexpected, that is why they are called "accidents." While
you can't foresee getting into an accident, you can be prepared
in case you do. Tip: you might want to clip out this short list
and keep it in your car.
Case of An Accident…
At The Scene
First, stop your vehicle. State laws require persons involved in
an accident to stop and exchange information.
Call 911 for police and/or medical assistance. Even if an accident
seems minor, assistance may be needed to clear the accident scene,
handle traffic, and file an accident report. You may also have stress
injuries that come on after the shock wears off. Once the officer
and/or medical personnel have finished (and if possible), collect
information about the accident at the scene, or as soon after as
is practical (you may be able to get a copy of the report filled
out by the police officer). This information should include time
and place of accident, weather and road conditions, and other circumstances
of the accident; as well as names, addresses, telephone numbers,
driver's license number and insurance information of those involved
(including contact information for any passengers and/or witnesses).
You also want to note vehicle information for all cars involved
(including make, model, year, color and license plate number) and
department and badge numbers of the responding police officer.
Filing Your Claim
Call your insurance company and/or agent as soon as possible. The
quicker you report a claim, the quicker the process can get started.
Think about it; how many of us can be without our cars for a just
a week, not to mention longer? You want to get the insurance process
going and repairs done as quickly as possible. Also, the insurer
may deny payment of your claim if you do not report the accident
within a reasonable period (make sure you read your policy for more
details on such a time period).
Make sure your insurance company agrees to pay your claim before
you start getting any repairs. They may need to send out an adjuster
before approving your claim. You can choose which repair shop to
go to unless otherwise stated in your insurance policy (some insurance
companies require you go to repair shops approved by them, and may
in turn offer you a discount to do so). Check all repairs after
they are completed, and keep all receipts associated with the repairs
(including an itemized list of exactly what was repaired).
Make sure you include all the requested information on your insurance
application during the initial application process, as an insurer
may refuse to pay a claim (not to mention cancel your policy) if
they later find that you withheld information that would have caused
them to deny you coverage in the first place.
Make sure the insurance company you choose is rated financially
strong. If your insurance company is not financially stable and
forecloses anywhere near your accident, you may end up paying for
most or all of the repairs and medical costs associated with your
accident yourself. Although State Insurance Boards will often help
if an insurance company legally files bankruptcy, this process takes
a long time and payments are often delayed. You can check the financial
rating of each insurance company that interests you when going through
the quoting process.
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Content provided by Car Insurance Rates Online .net