You take out insurance to protect yourself in the event of an accident, but everyone hopes that they’ll never have to use it. With 140,000 million drivers on the roads in America daily, chances are, you’ll be involved in at least one accident in your life and need to file a claim. Many insurance companies even have apps that allow you to enter claim information right from your phone! Here are some simple tips to help you have a hassle-free claim filling experience.
There is certain information that you should always keep on hand when driving. Most people keep these items in their glove box or purse at all times:
If you’re in an accident, first pull over and park in a safe area if possible. Check for bodily injury and car damages. Use your cellphone to take photos of your own car and any other cars involved. Make sure to collect the following information because you will need it when filing your claim:
- Registration and auto insurance policy card with agent contact information
- Roadside assistance information
- Medical Information (Insurance card, list of medications or medical conditions paramedics might need to know)
- Name and contact info for everyone involved
- Driver’s license numbers for everyone involved
- License plate numbers and registration
- Make and model of all cars
- Take note of the location, time, and weather conditions
In most cases, you’ll want to call the police and file a police report before leaving the scene of the accident. This creates a witnessed report of the accident and ensures all the contact info you’ve been given is correct. Make sure to contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. If you wait, you might forget the necessary details. All the information you captured above will be asked for by your agent as well as a description of the accident in your own words.
Once the claim is filed you will either have an adjuster assigned to come and take a look at the car or you’ll be instructed to take your car to a certified repair shop. The compensation will be determined by your policy and the damage to the vehicle. If the repairs are more than the value of the car then it might be declared “totaled.”
The claims process might not be as smooth or quick as you want it to be all the time but upgrades to technology have helped speed things up greatly in the last ten years. Hopefully, you’ll never have to file a claim. If you do, at least you’ll be prepared.