How to File An Auto Insurance Claim

Almost every automobile driver will find themselves involved in some kind of motor vehicle accident at least once in their lifetime, no matter how careful a driver they may be. Thankfully most automobile accidents do not involve personal injury. They do, however, require you to file an auto insurance claim and report with your automobile insurance company.

How to File an Auto Insurance Claim

Before your involved in an accident, you should familiarize yourself with the process of filing an auto insurance claim so you know what to expect.

Fling an auto insurance claim is not a complicated process. However, before the insurance carrier sends you a check in the amount recommended by the claims adjuster, your insurance carrier will require proof of damage. Always file a claim with your own carrier, even if you believe the other driver is at fault. Your own carrier will strive to support your interests.

The insurance company will need a report from the other party or parties involved in the motor vehicle accident. Assuming there is no personal injury, the information you exchange with the other driver(s) at the accident scene should include name, address, auto insurance information including name of carrier and the phone number of the agent, their contact information and their vehicle's license plate numbers.

It’s important to realize that if there is no serious personal injury or death involved in a motor vehicle accident, the police will not necessarily arrive on the scene to take witness accounts and file an accident or incident report. You may want to report the motor vehicle accident to the police yourself, but you should not count on having an independent police report to verify your own report when you file an auto insurance claim.

Even if the police are on the scene, they frequently will avoid making an accident report if there are no injuries and they believe the damage is under $500.00 (the typical auto insurance deductible). If you are unable to persuade the police to file an accident report, you can insist on an incident report. This will be independent verification of the incident. Since you can't rely on the other driver's story to remain consistent, if the other driver is at fault, you will be better off if you have an incident report from independent third parties, such as police or third-party witnesses.

Many automobile insurance policies contain time limits that you should be aware of. There can be a time limit for submitting supplementary information, estimating repairs, and resolving claims disputes. Claim services in most cases are 24-7 and you can speak to a claims representative on your cell phone while you are still on the scene. They will walk you through the process and get the initial paperwork filed then and there.

You will be contacted by the other driver's insurance agent, so prepare for this conversation and document what you are going to say ahead of time. Be truthful, because the other driver's insurance company will have your words on record. Get the name of the other driver's agent and write down exactly what you said to them.

When your claim is approved, the insurance carrier's claims adjuster will estimate the cost of repair or replacement, and make a recommendation that will either conform with your claim or downwardly modifies what you have claimed.

Many insurance companies have direct repair agreements with auto repair shops. In these cases, the settlement check may go straight to the shop. Should you consider the recommendation too low, it is likely that your insurance carrier will offer dispute resolution.

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