We hope it doesn't happen to you, but if you're involved in a crash, you'll need to file a car accident insurance claim. Every insurer's claims process is set up a bit differently, but they all have a few things in common. There are a few questions that keep coming up, concerning car insurance claims, and below is a list some of them (along with their answers).
What Should I do When an Accident Happens?
You should immediately call the police, and 911 if anyone is hurt. Don't admit fault, and don't discuss the accident with anyone but the police/fire/rescue personnel. You should also get the names, addresses, and driver's license information for the occupants of the other vehicle, as well as any witnesses. If you have a camera handy, it's also a good idea to take pictures of the accident scene, skid marks, and any vehicle damage. Above all, try to remain calm.
What Kind of Accidents do I Have to Report?
You probably know that you need to call your insurance company after you've been involved in a collision- but what about the less-serious things that can happen, such as a rock hitting your windshield, or if your car gets "dinged" by a shopping cart? If you are at all unsure about what to do, just call your insurer, and if necessary, they will send a car insurance claims adjuster out to take a look at your vehicle and help you decide what to do next.
Should I File a Claim if My Car Has Been Damaged by a Natural Disaster?
If you live in an area that's prone to harsh storms or floods, you have a much higher likelihood of sustaining vehicle damage due to inclement weather. If your car is damaged in a storm or flood, you should definitely file a claim. However, in most cases, for your auto insurance to cover the damage, you'll need comprehensive coverage on your policy.
What if My Car is Burglarized or Vandalized?
We'd all like to think that our cars are 100% safe when they're sitting in our driveway or in a public place, but the unfortunate reality is that cars get broken into all the time. If your car has been vandalized or articles have been stolen from it, you should first call the police, and then make a call to your insurer. Before you fill out any auto insurance claim forms, be prepared with descriptions of what was taken, and receipts, if you have them. Being able to prove the value of the stolen goods will make the claims process go a lot more smoothly.
How Long Does the Claims Process Take?
Although the length of time will vary depending on what actually happened to your vehicle, most insurance companies offer fast, hassle-free claims service (and many insurers' claims offices are open 24 hours per day). Many insurers also offer online claims service, and the entire claim only takes a few minutes to file. The sooner you make your claim, the sooner processing can begin.
When an accident happens, you probably have a lot more questions than answers. This guide is by no means complete, but the information we've just given you will hopefully give you a head start in the auto insurance claims process. By knowing when to file a claim, you will save time, money, and frustration- and that's something that's hard to put a price on.