After an auto accident occurs, you have the option to file an insurance claim, although you’re not obligated to do so. It’s a step that can be beneficial if related expenses and costs will likely exceed your policy’s deductible and result in potentially significant out-of-pocket expenses on your part. If you opt to file a car insurance claim, here are three important tips to keep in mind as you go about doing this.
1. Officially Report the Accident
Don’t assume the other driver has already reported the accident. Even if he or she has reported it, it’s important to err on the side of caution and take this step yourself as well. You’ll have a much easier time filing a claim when there’s a clear record of what happened and when it occurred. Your insurance provider may also ask for a copy of the police report to confirm what you’ve told them about the accident.
2. Collect Relevant Info & Documents
While your car insurance company typically investigates accidents when claims are filed, there are useful facts and details you should be able to gather yourself. This is important, since things can change fairly quickly with vehicle-related accidents. For instance, witnesses to the accident can easily disappear or alter their stories if they’re contacted by the other driver’s insurance provider first.
If you’re able to do so, it can be helpful to get some important details as you prepare to file your claim, including:
• Names and phone numbers of witnesses
• Driver’s license and insurance information from the other driver and/or involved parties
• Details about the other vehicle involved (e.g., make, model, etc.)
3. Contact Your Insurance Company in a Timely Manner
A claim is officially initiated after you contact your insurance company. An insurance claims adjuster will ask you about details specific to the accident, which is another reason to gather as much info as you can immediately after the accident. Once you’ve been put in touch with a claims adjuster, this is the person who will manage your claim and the details related to it.
If you decide not to immediately file a claim, check to see what time limits apply to filing claims in general and any filing deadlines specific to your policy. Otherwise, you may unintentionally miss important deadlines.
It’s equally important to avoid mistakes as you go through the process of filing your claim or preparing to do so. For example, it’s best not to admit fault or accept any offers the other driver’s insurance provider makes. Doing either one of these things could complicate your claim or result in a denial.
If you’re in any kind of vehicle accident, the most important thing is to make sure everyone is safe and gets medical attention right away if it’s needed. Then follow the other steps listed above to make sure legal requirements are met and your interests are protected. If you need affordable, reliable auto insurance, reach out to the experienced agents at Altra Insurance Services. We also offer several other types of insurance, including homeowners, renters, and motorcycle insurance. San Diego residents should call us today at 800-719-9972.