what is a car insurance claim?
An auto insurance claim is a request for financial compensation that a driver files with an insurance company after their vehicle is damaged or injured in a car accident. More than $170 billion in auto insurance claim payments are made by the US. uu. insurance companies each year. Although the process may vary between states and insurers, the basic steps are often the same.
key things to know about car insurance claims
- when to file a claim depends on the extent and cause of the injuries or physical damage.
- which insurance company to file a claim with depends on who or what caused the damage.
- To file a claim, call the insurance company and provide them with your information and any documentation related to the accident.
- Auto insurance claims increase premiums by an average of 12 % to 45%, depending on the circumstances and the insurance company.
5 steps to file a car insurance claim
1. contact your insurance company
Contact your agent or insurer to report the accident as soon as possible. Be prepared to provide the following information:
- which covered vehicle was involved
- who was driving
- place and time of accident
- a basic description of the accident and the severity of the damage
- the name and insurance information of the other driver
- names and contact information of other people involved in the accident and witnesses
take notes and write down the claim number provided to you, along with the name and direct phone number of the person you are speaking with.
2. file a police report
Your insurance company will request a police report number. If you did not receive a police report at the scene, you can still go to a local police station to file a report.
3. wait for an adjuster
The insurance company will assign an adjuster to your claim. the adjuster will most likely contact you for additional information. Stick to the facts and avoid speculation when describing what happened. Please provide the photographs you took at the scene and contact information for any witnesses.
remember that the conversation will be recorded and used to determine who was at fault. If you are filing a personal injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company, you may want to contact an attorney prior to this step.
In addition to gathering information about the accident, the adjuster will either inspect your vehicle for damage or have you take the car to a certified repair shop who will perform the inspection.
4. get a report from the insurance adjuster
Once the adjuster has considered the facts of the incident, including your coverage and the damage to the vehicle, they will provide you with an initial estimate of the cost of the repairs. Your insurance company will take this estimate, or an estimate from a repair shop, into account when determining how much they will pay for vehicle repairs.
5. accept payment
The adjuster will authorize a final payment. then, you will sign a statement accepting the offer as full payment of the claim.
company contact information for auto insurance claims
when to file a car insurance claim
You should file an auto insurance claim when your car needs to be repaired or replaced after it has been damaged, or when you have been injured in an accident. If the damage to your car is likely to cost less than your deductible and no one else was involved, you do not need to file an auto insurance claim since your insurer will not pay the claim.
all risk insurance
File a claim with your own comprehensive insurance when damage is caused by something other than a collision.
civil liability insurance
file a claim with the other driver’s civil liability policy when the accident is the fault of the other driver.
File a claim with your collision policy when an accident is your fault. if the fault is unclear, file a claim with both insurers. once the fault is determined, you will get coverage under one or both policies.
uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance
File a claim with your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage after an accident with an at-fault uninsured or underinsured driver.
personal injury protection and health insurance
File injury claims with your insurance company under Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or MedPay Insurance if you have either type of coverage.
how fault affects car insurance claims
Who is at fault in an accident matters, as the at-fault driver’s insurance company will be responsible for covering damages. Once a claim is filed, the insurance adjuster will investigate the accident and determine who was at fault. fault may be shared between the drivers, in which case damages would be based on state negligence laws.
Learn more about how faults affect auto insurance claims.
Property Damage Claims – Auto Repair
Your insurance company will usually provide you with detailed instructions for repairing your car. don’t fix anything before the adjuster can inspect it, unless waiting will cause more damage in the future. you’ll be able to choose your own repair shop and have the final say on what parts they accept for your car, although following the insurance company’s recommendations can sometimes save you time and money.
If you’re not happy with how the insurer is handling your auto insurance claim, you have options to move forward. You can contact the company directly to appeal any decision you disagree with or report it to your state insurance regulator if you think they are acting unethically. As a last resort, you should consider hiring an attorney to help resolve the dispute.
For more information, see wallethub’s guide to filing property damage claims.
Bodily Injury Claims: Getting Medical Care
It is important to put your health first when receiving medical care after a car accident. do not avoid treating your injuries, as this could lead to medical complications later. Many health care providers will be willing to bill auto insurance companies directly, but in some cases, you’ll need to submit medical bills to the insurance company for reimbursement.
If you have serious injuries caused by another driver, it is a good idea to contact an attorney to represent you while filing a bodily injury claim. Personal injury attorneys provide free initial consultations and will represent you on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if your auto insurance claim is successful.
For more information, see wallethub’s guide to filing bodily injury claims.