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Filing Auto Insurance Claims

Filing Auto Insurance Claims

No one wants to get in a car accident, but if you do, it’s important to be insured. In the US, the average person spends about $1,770 per year on auto insurance. The industry insures over 215 million drivers and is currently worth over $315 billion. Each year, auto insurance claim payments reach about $170 billion dollars, paying out on numerous auto accidents across the country.

When and When Not to File a Claim

Smaller accidents, such as single-vehicle accidents with minimal damage, minor accidents where both parties settle privately (be cautious with this), or issues that arise with regular usage, may not be covered. You also won’t want to file a claim if the damage is less than your deductible, because filing a claim will raise your premiums and be added to your claim history. In any accident with an injury or if the vehicle(s) sustained substantial damage, a claim should be filed.

How To File a Claim

Filing a claim properly involves these basic steps:

  1. Get a police report – Most accidents require the police to come to the scene and file a report. Even minimal damage accidents should have a police report. This report lists all the parties involved (including witnesses if applicable), describes the conditions of the accident, designates at-fault driver(s), and verifies that the drivers have valid drivers’ licenses and insurance coverage. Obtain a copy of the police report so you have the information for step two.
  2. Contact your insurance agency – As soon as possible, contact your agent and let them know the details of the accident and the police report. They’ll need to know which covered vehicle was involved, who was driving, the location and time of the accident, a basic description of events, the severity of damage, the name and insurance information of the other driver(s), and contact information of any witnesses. Write down the claim number and the person you talked to.
  3. Contact an attorney – If you need to file a personal injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company, you may want to contact an attorney. This is not always a necessity, but in some cases, it will be needed to get the compensation you’re owed.
  4. Wait for an adjuster – After you’ve filed the claim with your insurance company, they will assign an adjuster to your case. They’ll contact you and ask for more details. Be sure to stick to the facts and be honest. Provide any photos you took at the scene and contact information for any witnesses. The adjuster will inspect the damage or will request you take the vehicle to an approved shop for a detailed inspection.
  5. Get the insurer adjuster’s report – The report from the adjuster will include an estimate for repairs, which is what your insurance company will use when determining how much to pay out for repairs.
  6. Accept the payment – The adjuster on your case will authorize the payment then you can accept the offer as complete for the claim.

If you have questions about auto insurance, contact Four Seasons Insurance today.

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