Dealing with auto insurance claims may be the last thing you want to do after a car accident but it’s a necessary step to take in order to resolve the issue in a timely manner. In order to make handling car insurance claims easier, we’ll break down the steps to help you understand the process and hopefully answer all your insurance claims questions.
How to File an Auto Insurance Claim
As soon as possible after the accident, you should file the auto insurance claim with your insurance company. Collect all the information from the accident, including the contact and vehicle information from the other driver (if involved in a multi-car accident) and a police report (if necessary). Share your side of the story, such as the date and location of the accident and a description of what happened.
A claims adjuster will be assigned to review your case. In addition to reviewing the information that you provided, the adjuster may also visit the scene of the accident, inspect your car’s damages and take photos. If injuries occurred during the accident, the adjuster may also ask to view your medical records.
Repairing a Vehicle
While the investigation of the auto insurance claim takes place, your insurance company will cover the initial cost of repairs. This initial payment, known as indemnification, covers the cost of damages and losses. If the other driver is later found to be at fault, your insurance company will then be reimbursed by the other driver’s insurance in a process called subrogation.
Your insurance company may give you several options for getting your car repaired. You may be asked to use a body shop that is approved by the insurance company to get an estimate for repairs or you may be asked to visit several shops to get quotes for comparison. The insurance company will then determine what is a fair price for the repairs and will reimburse you for that amount.
Covering Medical Costs
The same as vehicle repairs, your auto insurance company will cover the costs of medical treatment related to the accident until the fault is determined.
Be prepared to show proof of your medical bills and possibly grant access to your medical records to help the auto insurance claim adjuster.
Determining the Fault
Once the adjuster has all the details, the cause of the accident and who is at fault will be determined. This will decide which party’s insurance company will ultimately cover the costs of the accident.
If you disagree with the decision or feel that the settlement offer is unfair, you can take the case into mediation, arbitration, small claims court or can hire an attorney.