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What to Expect When Filing a Car Insurance Claim

You have had a problem with your car. It could be an accident that has totaled your car or it could be a simple fender bender or a dent in your neighbor's car. You now have to claim the money from your auto insurance provider.

Here are the steps that occur after an accident claim is filed:

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  • The insurance company will send their representative over to you.
  • The representative will estimate the damage and go back to their office.
  • The insurance company will send you a check based on their estimate.
  • You then use that money to pay for whatever damages were caused.

How do you go about making a car insurance claim? The process that goes into making a claim is outlined below:

  1. The scene of the accident:
    You will need a police report. So, call 911 if you need to. If there is anyone who requires medical attention, call for an ambulance too. Most importantly, call your insurance company. Most of them have 24 hour help lines. Do not touch anything at the scene of the accident. If you have camera, take photos. Do not drive away! Make sure you exchange vital details with the other party. Names, addresses, driving license numbers and car license plates should be taken down. Most auto insurance companies issue an insurance ID card that has the relevant details clearly printed. This card is to be kept in the car. Insist on an incident record from the police. This goes a long way in validating your claim. Can you round up any witnesses? Make sure you photocopy all important correspondence and documents related to the accident.
  2. Follow the insurance provider's suggestions:
    Ask them what documents they will need to settle your claim as soon as possible. They might recommend you to a garage of their choice. Go there. Chances are that the claim will be settled faster. Avoid getting the repairs done privately and hoping they will pay. Your insurance provider must get an estimate of repairs before the garage begins working on your car.
  3. Excess charges for damages: If the damage is more than what you are covered for, you will have to settle the difference. Ask them the amount that they agree to pay. Make sure you take down the name of the person you talk to. Many times the check will be sent straight to the auto garage. On rare occasions, a car insurance claim may be rejected.

With this understanding of the claim process, you will be better suited if/when an accident occurs. Be sure to talk with your insurance agent or broker if guidance or assistance with the insurance company is needed.