Insurance is pretty much a part of our lives. Since most states require people to own auto insurance for their vehicles, you would already know what it is. In fact, you also have an idea of how it should work. But things can get foggy when you have to claim car insurance after an accident or a collision.
We’ll explain the types of claims and how to claim auto insurance in case of an accident. Do note that the actual steps and processes may slightly vary depending on the state.
First Things First
What do you do when there’s been a traffic accident or a collision that damaged your vehicle in some way? The prime step is to check for injuries and call 911. Neither you nor others involved in the accident should have to end up at risk due to the lack of timely treatment.
You need to call the police to file an official report. Calling 911 should take care of medical and police assistance unless there’s another specific number to dial for the police.
The next step is to consider the extent of damage to the car. Will it work on its own, or should the vehicle be towed to the nearest garage? If your car needs towing, you can either call the towing company on your own or ask the police to take care of the issue. Save the receipts to submit when you file a claim for reimbursement.
Of course, if you have roadside assistance cover, you can directly contact the insurer to send someone to handle it. Remember that invoking roadside assistance doesn’t mean you don’t have to file a claim. They are two different aspects.
Filing a Claim
You can file a claim when you or another person has been injured by the accident. Bodily injury and property damage are both acceptable claims. What if there is no other party involved in the car accident?
Some accidents can happen by the sudden fall of a tree, landslide, rocks rolling down the hills, or even in a garage. Theft is also a valid reason to file a claim on your car insurance. Since the focus of our post is about claims after an accident, we’ll stick to it.
First-Party Claim or Third-Party Claim
The auto insurance claim you file after an accident is of two types. A first-party claim is when you contact your insurance company to reimburse or pay for the expenses. A third party claim is when you contact the driver/another person/ business’ insurer as they are responsible for the accident.
The insurance companies will carry out their own investigation when processing the claim. So, it is always better, to be honest at this stage and file the right claim. If you have caused the accident and inadvertently harmed the other person, you file the first party claim. If you have been injured by another vehicle or person and are the injured member, you file a third-party claim.
For a first-party claim, it’s recommended to open the claim so that your insurance company can investigate and find the truth (especially if the other party declares that you are at fault). This won’t matter if you live in a no-fault state. The insurance companies will get involved no matter who is the cause of the accident.
However, what if the other party was responsible for the accident? In that case, your insurance company will settle the dues after you pay the deductible. Then, it will directly deal with the other party’s insurer to settle the amount and get reimbursement for paying the bills.
When dealing with a third-party claim, you have two options. You can either accept the money they offer or file a fresh claim with your insurer and let the companies work the money matters. This option is for when the third-party insurance company offers very little to settle the claim.
Steps to Follow to File a Claim for Auto Insurance
- Call the insurer on the given toll-free number, send an email to customer care, or use the mobile app of the insurance company.
- Provide your policy number, date of birth, identification information, and zip code.
- Present your version of the events (preferably with a witness on your side).
- Collect the necessary documents, receipts, bills, contact information, etc., and share the photocopies with the insurer. Make multiple copies and save the originals carefully.
- Meet the insurance adjuster and be courteous.
- Don’t go for repairs until the inspections are over.
- Keep track of every conversation and update.
Don’t forget that you can always Find a Better Deal on Car Insurance by talking to insurance agents and other agencies. Find the best affordable auto insurance to suit your budget and stay protected on the roads.
Ayesha completed her Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry and started her career as a College Lecturer in 2013. Today, she’s a happy mom of 2 Kids in the field of digital marketing. She loves reading books, spending time with her family, and making delicious food for her husband.