Getting into a car accident is a deeply nerve-wracking and sometimes traumatic experience. While getting out of a car crash relatively unscathed is, of course, wonderful, the aftermath of dealing with insurance agents and car companies can be just as damning to the psyche, if not more.
Most who have survived the experience will tell you that you will need the patience of Job and nerves of steel to make it through the arduous process.
Yet, as difficult as filing claims can be, there are ways to make the process a little less painless and unknowable. Primarily through information – the following is a quick guide on the insurance claim process and what to expect.
Make a Few Phone Calls
If your car was damaged or completely totaled, if you or your loved one sustained some serious injuries, then you already know that you should file a claim right away. What might throw you off, however, is the process itself.
First things first, contact your insurance company as soon as you can. While the claims procedure might vary state to state, from one company to the next, the mode of operation is to always call them first.
You will have to share with them some vital pieces of information in this call. Namely, notes on the offender in question, his or her license plate number and registration, the local of the accident, what happened, the aftermath, contact information of witnesses present at the scene, and finally, the other party’s insurance company information.
It might be extremely hard to stay calm, ask both bystanders and the other driver relevant questions, then call your insurance company – but this is a key step in making sure you don’t waste valuable time later on down the road.
Finally, call the police and file a report on the spot. This will form the basis for incredibly handy paperwork the insurance company will need to help you through the claim process.
Steps with the Insurance Company
Now that your auto insurance company is in the loop regarding the accident, you will need to follow-up with your assigned insurance adjuster. This is an individual your company will assign to you to help manage the particulars of your case.
He or she will ask you tons of questions, so be prepared and show them any evidence you have managed to compile – whether in the form of photos, eyewitness accounts, and so on. Being as transparent and as clear as possible in this part of the process is essential to ensuring that you get a fair deal when the claims are being filed.
This is where things can become a little muddy. Not all scenarios are clear cut, and according to various state laws, both drivers can be at fault. In this case, the insurance adjusters from the opposing sides will make the necessary judgment call in determining who will be responsible for paying the fees.
If you share the responsibility for the accident and find yourself convicted of a speeding violation or similar issue at the same time, you might need to find other ways to ensure that your insurance company can help clear your record while also keep the payments on your car at a reasonable level.
There are methods by which different companies can offer a measure of safety; the insurance advisors over at Money Expert have perfected a few, suggesting that you need to find a way to lower your premium by re-strategizing your payments and client history. This can make all the difference in a case wherein you find yourself at fault for an accident.
The insurance company adjuster will take the time to evaluate the facts of the incident, and match them up to the intricacies detailed within your policy. This is why, again, retaining as much practical information as you can, and communicating them clearly to your insurance company is incredibly vital. Without it, you stand to be bamboozled in the process.
Based on his or her initial assessment of the situation and the damage incurred, they will recommend that the insurance company sets aside a specific monetary amount for you – perhaps in the form of a first installment.
Then, a final resolution will be made, at which point you should expect to receive the reimbursement in full for all damages incurred and medical bills.
In the end, a car accident is one of the most difficult things you might experience. However, a lot of the stress can be circumvented provided that you keep a clear head and take the time to understand your rights, the policies of your insurance company, and gather as much supporting evidence as you can.