Filing an Auto Insurance Claim
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You’ve just had an accident. It may be a minor fender bender or a more serious accident resulting in injuries or extensive damage to one or more cars. Perhaps another motorist was clearly to blame.
Regardless of the severity of the accident or who was at fault, there are a number of basic steps you’ll need to follow once the commotion subsides. You need to know how to file the claim and deal with your insurance company. This can be a complicated and stressful process. The more you know, the smoother it will be and the greater your chances of being happy with the outcome.
Report the accident immediately
The first thing you should do is phone your insurance company or insurance agent to notify them that you’ve been in an accident. Do this as soon as possible, even if you’re far from home.
You should notify your insurance company of the accident, even if your instincts tell you otherwise. The accident may be minor, so you may not want to take the chance that your premium will go up. However, state laws generally protect you from higher rates unless you caused an accident.
You may live in a “no-fault” state and assume that the other driver’s insurance will cover everything, but that’s not necessarily true. In general, no-fault requires that each driver’s insurance pay for his or her expenses (up to the coverage limits), no matter who’s at fault. But if the other driver’s insurance company believes that you were at fault, his or her insurance company will most likely try to seek repayment from your insurance company. So your insurer should always be informed, regardless of the circumstances.
Find out how to proceed
Ask your insurance agent or the company representative what actions you need to take, and what forms or documents you need to support your claim. Your company may require a proof-of-loss form, as well as medical and auto repair bills, a copy of the police report and other documents relating to your claim. Supply all the materials and information your insurer needs and do it in a timely manner.
Read your policy
No one really wants to read an auto insurance policy filled with fine print and insurance jargon. But the days immediately following an accident are probably a good time to look it over. Knowing what your policy covers can prevent unpleasant surprises later on.
Keep records of your expenses and other paperwork
In some cases, the insurance will pay the hospital, car mechanic, or other service provider directly. In other cases, you may have to pay these expenses out of your own pocket, and your insurance company will reimburse you for covered expenses. Potential out-of-pocket expenses might include medical and hospital bills, car repair bills, rental car costs and lost wages. Keep copies of your receipts and other important documents in a safe location.
Don’t forget your other insurance
Don’t forget that other types of insurance (e.g., health, homeowner’s, etc.) may cover certain losses resulting from an auto accident, depending on the type of loss and other circumstances.
This article is provided by Comparison Market.