Being in an accident is the last situation any driver would want to be involved in. Auto insurance provides some safety net in such horrific events.
An auto insurance claim is a request by an insurance holder to the insurance provider for compensation for a loss, as per the insurance agreement. The insurance company will cover all the costs of damage or loss to property as per the agreement. In this article, we will look at how auto insurance claims are processed.
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Car Insurance Claim
When you suffer damages to your car the only consolation is having auto insurance. To make sure that your insurance company supports you in this tough time, you should know exactly how to file for a car insurance claim. There might be a deadline after an accident or a time period within which you must file for the due coverage. Additionally, there might also be certain documents that your company may ask you to attach to your application of claims. So how should you go about it?
What Is The Claim Process In Insurance?
The first thing you should try to do when in an accident is not panic. We know it’s such a cliche, but you may overlook important information if you start to get worried. Check yourself and all the other parties who have been affected by the accident to make yourself there are no serious physical injuries. Follow the steps below to get timely access to the funds you need from your insurer.
- Contact your broker or insurance provider:
The first step to initialize your claim is to contact the broker or insurance provider. This is the primary person of contact that is the main link between yourself and the insurance company. The Insurance Information Institute says that you should be able to provide the insurance provider with certain information to strengthen your claim. For instance, have the names of all the people involved in the accident, the insurance providers, information about the vehicles. You should also provide information about when and where the accident took place, and if the weather played any part in it. The broker will need to see any official documents, like the report of the accident, the names and badge numbers of the officers who responded to the accident, and the official pictures of the vehicle damage.
- Determine your deductible:
The deductible is the amount of money that you pay out of your own pocket before the insurance covers the rest. If you do no pay this amount, the insurance will not be able to compensate you. In other words, the deductible is a must to be paid to validate every insurance claim. For instance, if you have a deductible of $300, and the total damages equal $1000, the insurance company will pay you $700 after you have paid the initial $300. The deductible for the damage may be different for collision or comprehensive coverage.
- Determine if you have transportation expense coverage:
Transportation expense coverage, or rental reimbursement coverage, is a coverage that you might be entitled to under your auto insurance policy. This coverage makes it possible for you to rent a car through your insurer or use some other form of transport while your car undergoes repairs.
- Keep an eye on any deadlines:
Insurance companies can require you to submit the claim within a certain time period, otherwise, they may simply be rejected. The deadlines for different claims may vary. For instance, claims for personal injury may have to be submitted within a certain time as opposed to collision claims.
After you file for your auto insurance claims, your insurance company will start its own investigations to verify your claims. Depending on how severely your car is damaged, and whether you have comprehensive or collision coverage, this can take anywhere between one to two weeks.
What Happens After You File A Claim With Car Insurance?
- The Claims Adjuster:
After you have submitted the application for the auto insurance claim, you will be contacted by a claims adjuster or insurance adjuster. This is the person who will verify your application and consider all the facts before the compensation is paid out. The claims adjuster will inspect your car, talk to the mechanic, see what was damaged if repairs require any spare parts, and how much the labor will cost. The claim adjuster may also contact the police to determine who was at fault. Do notary to get any repairs done before getting them authorized by the claims adjuster.
- Policy review and damage compensation:
After the claims investigation is complete, the claims adjuster will go through your policy to see how much of the damages you are entitled to under the policy. For instance, your policy may not cover the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, so you may have to pay for the difference in the prices out of your own pocket. The insurer may also provide you with a list of vendors you can choose to get the repairs done from. You are not obligated to choose from any of the vendors on the list, but you may be saved a lot of time and hassle looking for other vendors.
- Getting the repairs done:
After the investigations are complete, repairs on your car begin. The cost for the repairs is generally directly paid to your mechanic. The adjuster may also contact you for any settlement on claims and payments.
Comprehensive Insurance Claim Process
Auto insurance can be of two kinds – comprehensive insurance or collision insurance. Comprehensive insurance covers all the damage caused to your car that is not by a collision or accident. It is also known as ‘other than collision’ coverage. It can cover damage to your car caused by theft, vandalism, fire, animals, falling objects, natural disasters or civil disturbance, etc.
Whether you are filing for claims under comprehensive coverage or a collision policy, the insurance claim process remains the same. The auto insurance claims flow diagram shows the process for filing comprehensive and collision insurance claims.
Auto Insurance Claims Process Flow Diagram
The following infographic summarises the claims procedure in an auto insurance claims process flow diagram.
An auto insurance claims settlement starts with the insurance holder. Remember to not give away any important information to the other party involved in the accident. Be sure to fill all forms as accurately and truthfully as possible – any inconsistencies can lead to a denial of coverage by your insurance holder. Most importantly, drive safely and responsibly!