What to Expect When You File an Insurance Claim
People carry insurance to have protection, which in turn, brings much-needed peace of mind. When buying a policy, the last thing you expect is to actually file an insurance claim, but it’s nice to know you have coverage when needed. However, when it comes time to how to file an auto insurance claim, many people feel overwhelmed.
Filing an Insurance Claim
To make a claim, the process isn’t as complicated as you might imagine. In fact, some insurers offer an online insurance claim process that makes it even easier. Regardless, there are certain things to expect. By understanding what happens with a car insurance claim, you’ll feel confident going through each step.
Contact Law Enforcement
Whether you’re the at-fault driver or someone else, contact the local police department. Even if the accident is minor, having a report will go a long way when filing a claim, especially if you end up going through the other driver’s insurance.
Call Your Insurance Provider
Next, you’ll need to call your insurance provider to report the accident. The individual who answers the phone will put you through to a specialist in the claims department.
Along with basic information about the accident, the company will want the insurance contact information of the other driver.
Scheduling an Inspection
With the details entered into the computer system, the representative of your insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to the location of your vehicle. This person will do a thorough inspection of your car to determine the type and severity of the damage.
If you insist the other driver caused the wreck, the adjuster will schedule an appointment to look at that vehicle. Even if you caused the accident and only have liability coverage, there’s an good chance your insurance company will still want an adjuster to do an assessment to help with the investigation.
A significant role of the insurance adjuster is to determine the liable party. Therefore, the adjuster relies on witness statements, photos, police reports, and other forms of documentation.
Reaching a Settlement
Based on the adjuster’s findings, the appropriate insurance provider would pay for the damage to your vehicle, medical expenses, and other accident-related costs. However, before reaching a settlement agreement, you would need your vehicle inspected at a licensed body or mechanic shop.
With better knowledge of the expenses involved, the adjuster either approves or denies the claim through your company or works on your behalf for compensation from the other driver’s insurance provider.
With the insurance claim process, if the adjuster offers an amount that you’re not happy with, you can always negotiate. Especially for accident claims that go against the other driver’s insurance, you can expect to receive a low-ball figure. Although standing your ground may help, you’ll need to depend heavily on your insurer’s adjuster to assist or seek the legal assistance of an attorney who deals with car accident claims.
Receiving Financial Compensation
If your insurance company pays out, any amount would be less your deductible, whereas, from the other person’s insurer, there’s no deductible on your end.
For auto insurance, there’s one important thing to remember – excessive claims can increase your premiums. Too many claims, especially within a short period, may prompt your provider to cancel your policy altogether.
If you have a claim for damage less than your deductible, it’s best to pay out of pocket. For instance, filing an insurance claim for $800 worth of damage on a policy with a $1,000 deductible makes no sense. Although you have every right to seek compensation as a policyholder, be careful on the number of claims you submit.
You should also know about money-saving tips. You can increase your deductible. Switching from $500 to $1,000 will make a significant difference in your premiums. Also, take advantage of every available discount. Talk to your agent on what things you qualify for to have them applied to your policy.
When looking for car insurance, not only should you pay close attention to coverage but also its insurance claim process. Hopefully, you’ll never find yourself in a position of going through this, but if you do, you want the best policy possible.
If you’re not insured with Cost-U-Less, you’re paying too much. Get a California car insurance quote online or over the phone at 800-390-4071 and find out how much you can save. We compare rates from top insurance companies to get you the best coverage at the lowest price.