If you’re really lucky, you’ll never have to file an auto
insurance claim. But for most of us who
spend a vast amount of our lives behind the wheel, filing a claim for some type
of auto damage is almost a certainty.
Most insurance claims don’t involve injuries, says the
National Association of Independent Insurers http://www.naiia.com/. According to their figures, sixty-three cents
of every dollar in claims goes toward repairing vehicle damage. In auto damage claims, the process is pretty
straightforward. You contact your insurer
who sends a representative to assess the damage to your vehicle. You then get an estimate for repairs and your
insurer sends you a check to pay for it.
Sometimes, if the damage is minimal and you’re a longstanding customer
with a clean driving record, your insurer won’t even send a claims
representative to look at your vehicle.
You just get an estimate from a certified repair shop and they send you
a check to pay for it.
What are the proper steps at the accident scene to make your
insurance claim easier? First of all, if
there are injuries, call 911 and make sure emergency medical personnel dispatched
to treat the injured. The next step is to file a police report. Regardless of
whether there are injuries, filing a police report is your best protection in
ensuring that your claim is handled properly.
The police will assess the accident scene and note information,
including injuries, witnesses and physical damage.
Before you leave the scene of the accident, make sure you
get the other party’s license plate number, driver’s license number, contact
information and insurance information.
Note the number of passengers in the other vehicle to ensure the other
party doesn’t claim injuries for people who weren’t actually involved in the
accident. This technique is common among
insurance scammers in order to increase the amount of their claim.
If there are witnesses at the accident scene, be sure to get
their contact information so you can get in touch with them if you need to
corroborate your account of what actually happened.
Call your insurance representative as soon as you can. If you have a cell phone, call from the
accident scene, if you’re able. Many
insurance companies have a 24 hour claims service by phone and they’ll tell you
exactly what you need to do to file your claim properly.
For those of us who do have an accident, hopefully it will
be a minor one with no injuries or fatalities.
If so, be grateful that everyone involved is safe and that you have
insurance to cover the damage.