• Doron Yaniv

Auto Insurance Claims: Step-By-Step Guide & Advice


After a car accident, the prospect of dealing with insurance adjusters and claim forms can be more stressful than the accident itself. Be patient and optimistic. Filing claims and waiting for decisions can be a battle of attrition, but in many cases, the process is faster and smoother than you might think.

Set the stage for a successful claims process by also reading what to do after a car accident. Read on to find out more about the process and how to make it work for you.


1) WHEN TO FILE A CLAIM

2) THE BASIC STEPS OF THE CLAIMS PROCESS

3) WHOSE FAULT IS IT?

4) PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIMS: GETTING CAR REPAIRS

5) BODILY INJURY CLAIMS: GETTING MEDICAL CARE


When to File a Claim


Whether to file a claim after an accident depends on what kind of insurance coverage you carry and who is at fault. Here are some tips for three major scenarios:

1) Your car is damaged – How did it get that way?










It’s clearly the other driver’s fault – File a claim with the other driver’s insurance company under that driver’s liability policy.

It’s clearly your fault – File a claim with your own insurance company under your collision policy.

The fault is shared or not clear – File a claim with both your insurer and the other driver’s. Once the fault is determined you will get coverage under one or both policies.


Damage is not due to a collision – If your car is stolen, vandalized, or damaged by weather, file a claim under your comprehensive insurance.

The other driver is uninsured or underinsured – Your own insurance company will cover your losses if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

2) You are injured – How were you injured? Who injured you? Do you live in a no-fault state?











You have PIP or MedPay insurance – File a claim with your own insurance company under your personal injury protection (PIP) or MedPay insurance, even if you are not at fault or if you have health insurance. Other insurance policies may eventually pay all or part of your expenses, but filing a PIP or MedPay claim will make sure you’re not stuck with medical bills as that gets sorted out.

It’s the other driver’s fault – If the other driver was at fault, or if the fault isn’t clear, you’ll file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company under that driver’s liability policy.

The other driver is uninsured or underinsured – Your own insurance company will cover your losses if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

3) Minor damage to your car and no injuries









It’s the other driver’s fault – When the other driver’s liability policy covers your losses, you don’t pay a deductible. So even when damage is minor, file a claim under that driver’s liability insurance.

It’s your fault – If you can live with the minor damage, or if the cost of fixing it will be not much more than your deductible, consider not filing a claim. The small reimbursement after your deductible may amount to less than your future increases in insurance rates.


The Basic Steps of the Claims Process


Procedures vary depending on your insurance company and your state – if you have any questions ask your adjuster – but in general, here’s how the claims process will work:

1. Contact Your Insurance Company – Contact your agent or insurer to report the accident as soon as possible. Be prepared to provide the following information:

· Which covered vehicle was involved

· Who was driving

· Location and time of the accident

· A basic description of the accident and the severity of the damage

· The name and insurance information of the other driver

· Names and contact information of others involved in the accident and witnesses

Take notes and write down the claim number you’re provided, plus the name and direct phone number of the person you talk to.

Claims Contacts For Some of the Top Car Insurers



800-274-4499




800-2CLAIMS (225-2467)






800-421-3535