How to file a car insurance accident claim
Here are instructions on how to file a car insurance accident claim.
Communicate with the insurance company after a car accident.
Prepare the required documents and evidence of car damage and the accident scene.
Learn the time limits for resolving insurance claim disputes.
File the car insurance claim with the necessary phone numbers, official information, and evidence.
Find out whether your car insurance pays for a rental car or not.
1. Communicate with the insurance company after a car accident
Always let the insurance company know about the incident, no matter the circumstances. It’s best to call them after calling the emergency hotline and the police. Communicating with the insurance company enables the policyholder to know all the requirements, making it easy to process the claim later.
Ensure that the police have made a report regarding the accident and obtain the insurance information of the owner of the other car involved in the collision. If you can’t obtain this information directly, the police will provide it to you.
Insurance companies log incidents after the policyholder calls or reports them. Not informing the car insurance company immediately means it will take longer to process the insurance claim. Not providing the insurance company with other important details, such as the other party’s insurance company, could delay the claim.
It will take time for the insurance agency to go through the details in the police report. Providing the necessary information up front reduces the days it takes the insurance agency and car insurance adjuster to process a claim.
2. Prepare the required documents and evidence of car damage and accident scene
When you purchase a policy, the insurance company will give you a list of the documents it will need in case you file a claim. This information is typically listed in the brochure or policy documents.
You should provide hard evidence of your claim, such as photos of both cars involved in the accident, even if you’re a direct witness of the incident and not at fault. If possible, provide a dash camera recording. This evidence will make it easier for the police to file a report and for the insurance to process the claim.
Dash cam prices vary widely, from as little as $50 to several hundred dollars. While dash cam footage can be a big help if you’re ever in an accident and have to file a claim, it’s important to research your options and compare prices before buying one.
3. Learn the time limits for resolving insurance claim disputes
Before filing your claim, learn the time limits for resolving insurance claim disputes. If you think the adjuster hasn’t settled your claim correctly, you may be able to increase your settlement amount by presenting a reasonable argument as to why you should be compensated at a different rate. For example, if the cost to replace your vehicle is higher than the adjuster’s quote, providing the adjuster with information to support your dispute may convince them to offer you more compensation.
If you can’t resolve a dispute with the adjuster, an insurance company may provide arbitration, or you may seek out your own independent arbitrator experienced in insurance resolutions to handle it. Another option is a governmental agency. Each state has its own set of rules and regulations governing insurance. If you have a valid reason for your dispute, you may be able to file a complaint seeking a resolution with the agency responsible for insurance in your state.
4. File the car insurance claim with the necessary phone numbers, official information, and evidence
Filing a car insurance claim with the necessary phone numbers, including the other driver’s number, official information from the police report, and evidence (like pictures of the accident scene) helps to make the claims process as smooth as possible.
It’s best to stay calm after an accident. Gather information like the insurance company name and policy number, the other driver’s name, and their address and phone number. Ask the police how to get a copy of the report, as this is a required attachment for the insurance claim.
Providing all necessary documentation as soon as possible speeds up the process and claim approval. The goal of the process is to get the insurance claim submitted and repair the vehicle damages as quickly as possible.
5. Learn whether car insurance pays for a rental car
When you buy a policy, you’ll have the option to add rental car coverage. This means if you file a claim with this coverage, your insurance company will pay all or part of the cost of a rental car while yours is being repaired.
It’s also a good idea to confirm with your insurance company that your policy will cover a rental car while you’re driving it. An insurance policy that carries comprehensive and liability coverage on your personal car usually also applies to a rental car. Always ask the insurance agent if your policy covers rental cars before you sign the policy, as it is the policyholder’s responsibility to ask about coverage options.