Although not complicated per se, filing a car insurance claim involves several steps. The first thing you should do is call your insurance company or your broker so the case can be processed without delay.
What to do prior to filing a car insurance claim
- Get the other party information:
- Name of insurance and policy number
- Description of the vehicle
- File the report at the scene if possible
- Take pictures and videos of the scene itself, including the vehicles and the surroundings.
- Depending on your state, you may be required by law to report the accident to the DMV and/or to the police. Call 911 for police report and maybe write a ticket (that may be necessary to produce later on).
When to file a car insurance claim
In case of accident, theft or if your vehicle has been vandalized
- Familiarize yourself with your policy and learn about your coverage, deductible etc…
- Contact your insurance broker or insurance company with
- Policy number and other basic information
- Details about the incident
- Information gathered from other party
- Make and keep copies of everything you produce to your insurance.
In case of bodily injuries on yourself or one of the passengers
- Verify if your policy includes a Personal Injury Protection clause (PIP), in which case you will have to provide photos, documents, all information relevant to the injuries.
In case of property damage
- You may be covered for stolen or damaged property inside or outside your vehicle (something that you are towing or transporting on your roof gallery). You may have to produce pictures and invoices in order to file a car insurance claim
If the other party is determined to be at fault, you will have to file a third party claim with their insurance company. The procedure is the same but takes longer. Contact your own insurance company anyway, so they are involved in case you are not covered enough or it takes too long.
What happens next
- You will be in contact with a claim representative.
- You will receive a claim number.
- They may decide to send a claim adjuster to assert the damages.
- You will need to provide estimates for the cost of repair. Your insurance can provide you with a list of accredited repair shops in your area.
- Your policy can include providing you with rental car while your own vehicle is in the repair shop.
Your story and the other party’s should not be contradictory and both insurance companies should come to an agreement. In certain cases, however, things do not go smoothly and it may require hiring an attorney.
Your insurance company and insurance broker are your advocates, they are here to help you when you encounter a major problem. The insurance policy is a contract that you both sign: you commit to pay your premiums and they commit to protect you. Come companies allow you to file the car insurance claim online, but it is recommended to call, no matter what.
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