Car insurance can be your savior in case of an unfortunate incident. It can provide financial and even legal protection, depending on the specific coverage. Nonetheless, filing a claim can be intimidating, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Read on and learn more about how you can do it right.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Filing Car Insurance Claims
Getting car insurance can be overwhelming because of the tons of options available. At the same time, filing a claim can also be confusing. The steps can vary, but in most cases, here are the things to do.
1. Contact the Police
Depending on the nature of the incident, the first thing to do is to call the police or law enforcement. This is especially the case if it’s a crime, when someone was hurt, or when there’s significant damage. A police report may not be necessary when filing a car insurance claim, but it’s one thing that can come in handy. The report can provide a detailed account of what happened, which can also be useful when the incident warrants a formal investigation.
2. Take Photos
Especially after a car accident, the most important tool is something you always have with you – your phone. Don’t forget to take photos of the scene, which will serve as documentary evidence for your insurance claim.
Take a picture of the damage to your vehicle and to the other vehicle/property. You should also snap a shot of the concerned license plates, as well as the road conditions and insurance cards of the concerned drivers. Also, you will need photos of the injuries you or the other party sustained.
3. Contact the Insurance Company
The next thing to do is get in touch with the insurer. Regardless of who’s at fault, it’s crucial that you call the insurer immediately. Take this as the chance to clarify any concern that you have and ask what the next steps should be. This will let you know the requirement for processing the car insurance claim.
4. Submit Requirements Within the Specified Time
Depending on the insurer, you don’t always have the luxury of time when processing claims. In most cases, you’ll need to submit the requirements within 30 days. Some can be generous and will give you several months to process the claim. State laws can also influence the timeframe you have.
5. Work with the Claims Adjuster
A claims adjuster investigates insurance claims to determine the liability of the insurance company. As a part of the review, the claims adjuster will speak to all the concerned parties. The same person will also coordinate with the car repair shop to determine the extent of the damage and how much needs to be paid. Most of the time, such conversations are done over the phone, although they can also happen in person.
6. Follow Up on Your Claim
The waiting time begins! This can be frustrating, especially if you’re car has been severely damaged, and you need to use it. Depending on the terms of insurance, they might pay for your car rental for the time being. If it’s been more than the time the insurer specified, call or email them to follow up.
7. Know How Your Insurance Works
Knowledge is power, even when it comes to insurance. So, it’s best if you understand the fundamentals of your car insurance. For instance, it’s good to learn how does insurance determine car value. This way, you’ll easily understand how they will value your car and anticipate how much they can cover.
8. Hire an Attorney
While it might not always be necessary, there are instances when you will need to work with an attorney. Find someone who specializes in handling car insurance claims. If you think that the insurer is not doing what they’re supposed to be, such as giving the benefits you’re entitled to, a lawyer can extend a helping hand.
9. File an Appeal
In some cases, your car insurance claim can be denied. For instance, such can happen when you didn’t file on time, delay medical care, or if the accident was avoidable. However, if the reason for the denial is unclear, and if you believe it should not have been rejected, then take the time to file an appeal.
Do not immediately give up. Instead, research your options by talking politely to the insurer, or as earlier mentioned, by working with an attorney. You might end up lucky this time. Make sure to submit all the necessary requirements and coordinate with the insurer for a successful claim.
Car insurance claims can easily go south if you’re not careful. You might end up not maximizing what you’ve paid if you’re unaware of what to do. As such, take note of the things mentioned above to streamline the process and increase the chances of getting approved.