It’s bound to happen. Sooner or later, if you drive long enough, you’re likely to have some sort of automobile accident. With luck, it will be minor. But irregardless, knowing how to handle an auto insurance claim can possibly save you thousands of dollars.
If you are involved in an accident, particularly in moderate to severe accidents, the first thing you need to do is contact the police. They will arrive quickly and help you sort out what happened, who may be at fault, and contact towing companies to remove your vehicle from the scene of the accident if necessary.
The second thing you should do is contact your insurance company. They will likely want the insurance information of the other driver. Get that information from the other driver if possible, but if they are angry or uncooperative, do not push them. They must give that info to the police, and your auto insurance company can get it that way if necessary in order to process your claim. It takes longer, but it can still be done. This also saves you from escalating an already stressful situation if the other driver is extremely agitated.
An auto insurance claim is simply a process by which you are covered in the event of an accident. If you were at fault in an accident, your insurance company will conduct an investigation, and pay for damages. This will likely result in an increase in your premium, or if you have had multiple accidents over the past few years, your insurance company may drop you completely.
If another party was at fault for the accident, your insurance company will handle to process of handling the claim with the other drivers insurance company. Depending on the severity of damage to your vehicle, they will either issue you a check for the current market value of the vehicle, or they will provide you with information about where you can take your vehicle for repair.
The process of filing auto insurance claims is a very stressful one. However, one possible benefit to this unfortunate event is that you learn quite a bit about your insurance company in the process. It’s very easy for companies to promise the world, until you actually need them. At this point, you have the opportunity to evaluate how they treat you as a paying customer. Are they responsive when you contact hem? Do they process your claim quickly? Do they get you back on the road with a repaired vehicle or a check in a timely manner? Do your rates go up? Do they drop you?
As difficult as it may be to go through, there is simply no better way then having to file an auto insurance claim, to find out if you are with the right company. Here’s hoping you don’t have to find this out for many, many years to come!