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Know How to File a Car Insurance Claim Before You Get into an Accident

Drowning in parer - Illustrating to learn to file insurance suits correctly and avoid being overwhelmed after the pile-upHaving car insurance on your vehicle is not an option; it is a requirement set forth by the Federal Government to protect people on the roads. That means that millions of people around the country have insurance; over two hundred and twenty million to be precise. This makes it pretty likely that you, at some point in your life, will get into some kind of an auto accident. That means you will have to file a car insurance claim, regardless of who was at fault, however, many of these two hundred twenty million drivers don’t quite know the right procedure for doing so. Knowing what to do in the event of a car accident is vital, however, so you should always make sure that you know what to do and how to file a claim. The process isn’t difficult, especially if you have a good car insurance policy, so make sure to remember the following eight steps to ensure you get the money that you deserve.
1.        Contact the Authorities:The very first thing that you should do when you are involved in an accident of any kind is to contact the authorities. If there are life threatening injuries, make sure to contact 911 so that any health issues are handled first. If there are no injuries, avoid tying up the 911 line and call the police directly instead.

2.        Exchange Information: Take a moment to exchange information with the other driver or drivers that were involved in the accident. While most of the pertinent information will be on an insurance identification card that is meant to be kept in the vehicle, there may be gaps that you have to fill in on your own. Make sure that you take the time to do so as it will make the claim process that much easier.

3.        Get a Report: Regardless of how bad the accident was, always insist on a police report. Some police officers may not want to file a report if an accident is minor, but you need that report to file your claim. If you cannot get a police report, then make sure that you get some kind of official report either from a shop owner or lot security that might have jurisdiction over an area such as a mall parking lot.

4.        Contact Your Insurance Company: If possible, contact your insurance company from the scene with your cell phone. If that is not possible, make sure that you contact your insurer as soon as possible. The sooner you start the claims process, the sooner you will get a check to cover the damages to your vehicle. Your insurance company will also provide you with support and help you go through the claims process regardless of if you are filing with your company or the company of the other person involved in an accident.

5.        Advise the Other Company: You should take steps to advise the other person’s insurance company that you plan on filing a claim with them as well as with your carrier for the damages to your vehicle. While you cannot collect twice for the same thing, you can collect from multiple sources. The less that your company has to pay, the lower your overall premiums will be and the smoother your claims process will be, especially if you are up front with both companies about your intentions.

6.        Record Your Statement: A car accident can be a traumatic experience. As such, you should never rely just on your memory. Before you speak with any insurance agents or representatives, make sure to write down what you plan to say. Not only will this help you in a stressful situation, but it will help keep the story that you tell of the event the same from one person to another. This lends credibility to your side of things, which can net you an easier approval from any insurance company you file a claim with.

7.        Meet with an Adjuster: All insurance companies will send out an adjusterto look over the damages to the vehicles. This will help the insurance company come up with an estimate of how much it will cost to repair or replace the vehicle. Any documentation of the value or condition of the vehicle before the accident can be of help here, especially since you want to get as much as possible to enable you to fix or replace your car.

8.        Dispute Resolution: If you think the company offered you too little for the repair or replacement of your vehicle, then you can often get a form of arbitration to resolve your dispute. This process can take a few weeks, but the company should pay you for what they came up with, getting you any money from the arbitration when it is approved.

Vehicle Damage Vs Personal Injury

While there might not be much in the way of good news when you get into a car accident, there are some simple statistics to remember. The National Association for Independent Insurers says that over half of every dollar paid out goes to repair vehicles rather than to pay medical bills for those who were involved in an accident. That means that while vehicles are dangerous, most accidents don’t result in injury or other problems that can’t be fixed. This makes the claim process a little bit easier, as higher levels of proof are going to be required when you file a personal injury claim versus if you simply need your vehicle repaired. Just remember that all insurance companies are going to require some proof of damage and various accounts of the incident before they pay anything. Always keep these simple steps in mind or have a contact card for your car insurance company on hand so that you are never alone.

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