Five Steps to An Auto Insurance Claim

By Compuquotes Team on June 11th, 2008

Auto Insurance

When you've been involved in an auto accident, it's sometimes difficult to decide what to do and how to handle things. Filing a claim with your auto insurance company is not difficult, but it is important. Here are five steps to filing an auto insurance claim in the easiest possible way.

  • 1. Decide if you're going to file a claim.

There are many reasons you might decide not to file a claim with your insurance company, not the least of which is premium rises. Every time you file a claim against your insurance, you take the risk that your premium will rise with the next renewal, even if the accident is not your fault. These days, the cost could be even greater. Many insurance companies are offering reductions in your deductible when you don't make a claim for several years running - in some cases, eliminating your deductible completely. If you've got a nice no-claims bonus going, a small claim may not be enough reason to justify breaking it. Consider how much filing a claim with your insurance company will cost you, and then decide on the best course of action.

By the same token, keep in mind that the insurance company may take note even if you call and ask if you should file a claim. Before you call your insurer, make a decision about whether you will file or not, and only contact the insurance company if you decide to do it.

  • 2. Write down the details immediately, or as soon after the accident as possible.

Get the facts that you'll need to file a claim as soon as you've determined that anyone who needs medical attention is cared for. Get names and addresses of all those involved, as well as of any witnesses to the accident that can back up your story of what happened. You'll need a description of the car, the license plate number and the insurance company of the other driver if another driver was involved. Another very helpful thing to note is the vehicle identification number of the other car. Don't trust your memory - especially after the trauma of an accident.

  • 3. File the claim as soon as possible.

If you've decided to file a claim with your insurance company, do it as soon as possible. The sooner you get the process started, the sooner you can get it resolved. Your insurance company will act as your advocate even if the accident was your fault. Once you've filed the claim, let them handle the details. Do be aware of what benefits your policy entitles you to, though. Substitute transportation could be important if your car is disabled for a time.

  • 4. Prepare yourself to speak to the other driver's insurer.

The other driver's insurance company may call you if the claim is disputed. If anyone calls you to speak about the accident, be sure you know who you're talking with. Ask the person to identify the company they work for, and give their name. Before you start talking, get a pen and paper so that you can make note of everything you say. Documentation is important, especially if the case is being disputed.

  • 5. Make arrangements for repairs after you get approval.

It's very important that you only make arrangements for repairs after you have your insurer's approval. If you jump the gun, your insurance company may not pay out on the claim.

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