The Basic Steps For Filing A Car Insurance Claim
July 2, 2007
Being involved in a car accident is never planned. However, what you do or don't do immediately after the accident can directly impact your cost of car insurance as well as your state of mind.
The very first thing that you should do when you are involved in a car accident is exchange driver information. That is assuming you are not seriously injured. If you are seriously injured, make sure that the following information is collected by someone at the scene of the accident.
Get the other driver's name, address, telephone number, driver's license number, insurance carrier, policy number, insurance carriers telephone number, and the license plate number of the vehicle or vehicles involved in the accident.
If there are any witnesses to the accident, identify them by getting their name, address, and telephone numbers. They may be needed to substantiate how the accident occurred.
Contact local law enforcement and report the accident. If you can not reach them, you can go to your local police department, sheriff's office, or Department Of Motor Vehicles and obtain the necessary form to complete and submit it while there. You also may be able to submit the report via the Department Of Motor Vehicles website.
In the majority of cases, you should report the accident to your insurance company. Before calling them, make sure that you understand your policy.
Sit down and carefully read your car insurance policy. If there is any part of it that you do not understand, call your insurance agent or company, have a list of questions prepared, and get the answers.
If you still are not sure as to what to ask, you may quote car insurance with another insurance company and while you are getting your quote, ask them.
Once you have a complete understanding of your policy, contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible to report the accident. An insurance adjuster may be sent to record the damages to your vehicle and take your report and determine who was at fault in the accident. Be prepared for this. If necessary have a written description of what happened including any diagrams that will explain the accident.
And, if any of the witnesses would be willing to give you a written deposition, have that available as well.
If the accident was not your fault, you can either contact the other driver's insurance company or have your insurance company contact them to handle the repairs to your vehicle, or if necessary replace your vehicle.
If you use the other driver's insurance company, you will not have to file a claim on your policy and pay any of your deductible to have your vehicle repaired.
Do not relieve the responsible insurance company of its responsibility until all of the damages are settled to your satisfaction. If necessary have your insurance company handle your claim if the other party's insurance company questions who was at fault or offers an unacceptable settlement.
Be sure to consider all of the settlement factors:
Bodily Injury – You may be entitled to financial compensation for any injuries caused by the other driver. It may take several days for your injuries to become apparent.
Property Damage – The insurance company is responsible for paying the reasonable cost to repair the other drivers vehicle or property if you are at fault. If you are not at fault, the other insurance company is responsible for the repairs to your vehicle. An insurance adjuster will determine the damages. In most cases the insurance company and the repair shop negotiate any disagreements about what should be repaired. If you don't agree with their conclusion, you have the right to go to another repair shop.
Being involved in a auto accident is never fun, but do understand that you have certain basic rights, and if you are not satisfied with the way your claim is being handled, you can contact the state Department Of Insurance regarding your claim.
Barry Brenner is a licensed auto insurance agent with extensive experience selling car insurance. You can visit his popular website at: http://www.cheapcarinsurancequotetips.com
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