Every car insurance claim is unique, but most car insurance companies follow a standard claims intake and processing when distributing funds owed to you. If you get into a car accident, it’s important that you include as much detail about the event as possible when filing a claim, and that you also include as many supporting documents or as much evidence as possible. When you’re involved in a more serious car accident that has resulted in a lawsuit, you will need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to file your claim.
Use this step by step guide to learn more about the car insurance claims process:
1. Contact your insurance company. Some auto insurance companies allow you to report an accident and file a claim over the phone, or online. Most auto insurance companies have a toll-free claims reporting hotline that’s available 24/7.
2. Be prepared to provide details. You will need to provide very specific information about what happened. This includes the date, time and location of the incident; the name, address and insurance information of the other driver; number of passengers in the vehicle; a police report number; what areas of your car were damaged; any property damage from the accident; and whether the incident resulted in a medical emergency.
3. Report whether your vehicle was stolen. If your vehicle was stolen and not recovered, or was damaged during a theft and then returned to you, provide your insurance company with a copy of the police report. You should be able to fax this to them directly or scan and email them a copy.
4. Contact the other party’s insurance company. If the other driver was at fault, you need to make sure that the other party’s insurance company is aware that you have filed a claim. The insurance company may need to contact you in the near future to verify facts about the incident.
5. Keep track of all medical records. Insurance companies will most likely ask for medical reports and information related to injuries you and passengers in your vehicle sustained from the incident. Make sure you keep a copy of all medical bills, reports and other details from your doctor so that you can be fully compensated for injuries under your insurance plan.
6. Consider the settlement offer. When you receive a settlement offer, take your time to consider whether it is enough to cover the damages incurred. Remember that you do have the right to dispute the settlement. This process can take several weeks. If you accept the settlement offer, the insurance company will pay you right away.
Bankrate.com: 8 Steps to Filing an Auto Insurance Claim
CarInsurance.com: Simple Steps to Filing Your Car Insurance Claim
Allstate.com: Your Guide to the Allstate Claims Process
FreeAdvice: Car Accidents and the Claims Process