What should you do if you get into a car accident?
No matter how safe you drive an auto accident can still happen. It can be stressful to go through the claim process. In this week’s blog, we look at some steps that can make the ordeal go a little more smoothly.
First things First
Make sure you always carry your insurance ID card, vehicle registration and emergency contact information in your glovebox where it is easily accessible. Also, make sure you have a first-aid kit, flashlight and basic tool kit in your vehicle.
At the scene
When an accident first occurs, check to see if anyone is injured. If there are injuries, call 911 for assistance. If there is no major damage, move your car off the roadway to a safe location. However, be careful not to leave the scene of the accident. Contacting the local police as soon as possible is very important. They will decide if an officer needs to respond to the accident and file a police report.
While waiting for the police, exchange insurance information and policy numbers with the other driver involved. Make sure you also get the names, phone numbers, and addresses of every person in the other car. It is also helpful to take photos of the scene and all vehicles involved. This will make your claim go much smoother.
With your Insurance Agent
When you call your insurance agent to file a claim, you will be asked for the information of all parties involved including their insurance information. You will also be asked for the police report number if one was filed and any other information including any photos you took. If you do not already know, you will want to ask your agent what your policy deductible is. If your car is not drivable, you will want to determine if you policy has rental reimbursement coverage to pay for a rental car. If it does, there will be a per day limit and probably a total number of days covered. Anything above the per day limit or greater than the total number of days will be your expense.
With the Insurance Adjuster
The next person you will be working with is the insurance adjuster. The insurance adjuster will investigate the accident to determine who was at fault. This will include interviewing you and possibly the other parties. It may also include an inspection of all the vehicles involved in the accident. Once this is concluded, the adjuster will determine what and how much the policy will pay.
It is very important to cooperate fully with the adjuster during this part of the processes. Failure to cooperate can bring the process to a halt.
Once the adjuster has adjusted the claim, ask the adjuster to go over the final report with you to understand how the costs were assessed and the insurance payout was determined.
Getting it repaired
Once the adjusting process is over, you can then choose any repair shop you wish to fix your vehicle. However, keep in mind the adjuster has already determined what the insurance policy will pay for the repairs. If your repair shop choice is higher, you may have to pay the difference.
Depending on the company and your accident's circumstances, your insurance company may pay the repair shop directly or may pay you to handle the bill yourself.
No one wants to deal with an auto claim. If you have to, you want it to go as smoothly as possible. That way your vehicle gets repaired and back on the road as soon as possible. Our advisors pride themselves on assisting clients in understanding the claims process. Give us a call today to learn more.