Filing an auto insurance claim can be a little intimidating. Luckily, the process is less complicated than it may sound. You should call your company or agent as soon as you can, and following are a few other basic rules and tips to keep in mind for most situations.
Tips For Most Car Insurance Claim Situations
- If another party is involved, it is essential that you call the police to receive a police report. This information will be critical in determining fault.
You should also gather information from the other party yourself, including names, addresses, and insurance details. Take pictures of the vehicles that show the extent of the damage, their current position, and of anything else you think may be relevant.
- Only move cars if their position poses a risk to yourself or others, such as if they are blocking a road or are in the middle of a highway.
- If you were injured in an auto accident, or think you might be injured, it is critical to get necessary medical treatment and coverage. This will help you physically recover as quickly as possible and also help document your injuries, symptoms, and complaints as you experience them. That will be important evidence if you choose to make a claim in order to pay for your medical bills and injury-related damages.
- Avoid trying to settle without going through your insurance company. You pay for auto insurance to defend your interests, and now is the time to benefit. If you try to settle alone, the other party may later disappear or claim for damages or injury that should not apply.
- Only speak to the other insurance company after consulting with your adjuster. If you receive requests for information, politely decline until you have the chance to discuss the situation with your insurance company or agent.
- Regardless of fault, your insurance company will most likely pay to fix your car immediately. They will then work with the other company to determine fault. It is a good idea to allow your insurance company to pay for the repairs as soon as possible, as there is always the possibility that you will meet unexpected delays in resolving the claim.
- Although it may take some time to resolve your claim, try to be patient. There is plenty going on behind the scenes and cases are often more complicated than they seem.
Determining Fault in a Car Accident
Determining who is at fault in a car accident is essential to deciding who will pay for any damage or injury incurred. In general, the driver responsible for the accident usually pays for all damages. However, there are many circumstances that determine fault, whereby a percentage of the blame can be assigned to each driver, resulting in different monetary obligations for each party. Ultimately, the drivers’ insurance companies, while going through the claim process, decide each driver’s liability.
If You Are Not At Fault…
If the other party was found to be 100% at fault, and if you have paid a deductible to your company to get repairs started promptly, your insurance company should reimburse your deductible in full once they have gotten reimbursed from the other company for the cost of the damages to your vehicle.
If You Are At Fault…
If you are found to be 100% at fault, you will lose your deductible. However, if you are only partially at fault, your insurance company will return a percentage of your deductible; for instance, if you are 40 percent at fault, you will receive back 60 percent.
How Will This Affect My Premium?
No matter who is at fault, there is a chance that your claim may affect your premiums, as you may be surcharged, lose a discount, or have a violation added to your driving record. However, you should never allow this to be a deterrent for reporting a claim. Your insurance company has the resources to help you receive full repairs for your car, pay for your medical expense and lost wages, and can provide you with adequate defense.