How To File Car Insurance Claims

Car insurance claims are not an enjoyable experience for anyone. If you have never been through a claim, it can be a confusing experience. In order to get through the claims process, you will need to be patient and play by the rules of your insurance company. Your insurance company was designed to help you and treat you fairly.

Review Your Policy

If you are in an accident and need to file a claim, check your policy first. You should keep it in a location that can be quickly accessed in emergencies. If there are questions about coverage, refer to the coverage section of your policy. For example, make sure that you have car theft insurance if your car was just stolen. If you have any questions as to what will be covered, don't hesitate to call your agent.

Report the Claim

After you have looked at your policy or insurance card, you need to report the claim immediately. If you do not know where to call, just call your insurance agent. While they probably will not personally handle the claim, they can direct you to the person you need to call. Many insurance companies today have a claims hotline. They usually provide you with the toll free number when you buy your policy. Call this number immediately and let them know that your car has been damaged. This is the first step in the claims process.

Be Clear

When you call to report the claim, the agent on the other end will undoubtedly ask you what happened. Always be sure to tell the truth clearly and concisely. Do not ever allow yourself to change the facts of what happened. Even if you were at fault, do not lie. It is much better to be liable for an accident with insurance than to be found guilty of insurance fraud. Just give them all the details of what happened and they will record it in your claim file. This will initiate the process.

Determine Procedure

Ask the person at the claim hotline what the next step is if they do not make it clear. Some insurance companies will want you to go out and get estimates on the damage to your car. Sometimes they will have a preferred vendor to use. They will tell you where to take your car and what you should do next. Ask them if your policy covers rental cars and how to get one if it does. Just be clear of what you should do next as it differs with every company.

Be Patient

Regardless of what your next step is, be sure to be patient. Auto claims can take a while to sort out and you do not want to stress over them. Let the process play out as it should and you will be fairly compensated.