The primary objective of auto insurance is to cover you if you are involved in an accident. Having a car accident is a traumatic experience for many people. In addition to the potential physical injuries, there are often emotional wounds as well. Going through the claims process adds more stress. Here is a guide to help you through the process.

  • Stay Safe

In the immediate aftermath of an accident, the most important thing is to make sure that everyone around you is safe. If you can, turn your hazard lights on to alert other drivers of the accident. Don’t try to operate your vehicle if it isn’t safe. If you or someone else is hurt, call 911 and then notify the police.

  • Gather All Information

Try to gather all of the information you possibly can to assist with the claims process. Having all of the necessary information is important if there is a car accident claim settlement. At this stage, don’t worry about whether you are liable or not. If there is another driver involved, get their contact information, including the insurance policy number, license plate, and driver’s license. If necessary, take pictures of the scene and speak with any eyewitnesses. Be sure to get contact information from any willing eyewitnesses to help expedite the process.

  • Speak with Your Insurance Company

Once everything settles down, speak with your insurance company regarding the car accident. Even if the accident isn’t your fault, it’s essential to make them aware of it. They can help instruct you on the proper course of action to take following the accident. Don’t try to handle things on your own. You may make things worse.

  • Claim Your Losses

Once you have determined what is needed to repair your vehicle, it is time to make an insurance claim. Before you follow through, keep in mind that the damage in many cases is small enough to be covered with your finances. An accident on your record may cause your rate to rise. In some cases, you can opt against filing a claim and pursue small claims court. Be sure to get a repair estimate before making your final decision.

Check to see if the accident occurred in a no-fault state. If you reside in a no-fault state, your insurance company may be obligated to cover your injuries regardless of whether you are at fault for causing the accident. It’s also possible that your policy allows you to receive a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired.

  • Determining Liability

If you are liable for the damage caused by the accident, you can pursue a car accident claim settlement. If the other driver is partially at fault, you may be obligated to pay a percentage of the damages instead of the entire bill. You need written documentation from the other driver explaining that they were at fault regarding the accident. Having the police come to an accident can help as they will make a report and often determine fault. This report can later be used as evidence if the other person attempts to change the accident’s facts or tells their insurer something different from what happened.

What Happens Next?

As you pursue a car accident settlement, make sure that you stay up to date on everything. Keep notes on every email and phone call that you receive. If you feel that the claims process isn’t going as smoothly as it should, talk with your insurance company or your state insurance department. Remember that you are protected under the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act.

Filing a claim after a car accident is stressful in many ways. However, having all the important information documented will make it easier as you go through the process. Do you have any additional questions about your car insurance? Contact the experts at First Insurance Solutions today. We are always eager to assist you with all your coverage needs.

Per the Insurance Information Institute (III), auto insurance is mandatory in most states in the U.S. It covers medical expenses and property damage resulting from a car crash. Typically, auto insurance companies break down the total cost of auto insurance coverage into small regular payments called premiums, which vary depending on several factors, including state of residence, driving history, car type, and additional services, such as roadside assistance. American drivers spent $2,388 on car insurance in 2020, as reported by Business Insider. Fortunately, you can take certain proactive measures to lower your car insurance premiums. These measures include:

Practice Safe Driving

In general, insurance companies set your premium according to your risk. If you’re considered a high-risk driver, your insurance company will charge you more to cover the risk of frequent claims. The National Safety Council (NSC) states that most fatalities in road accidents happen due to alcohol, speeding, and lack of safety belt use. A clean record means avoiding DUI charges, following traffic signs, wearing your seat belt, paying your parking fees, and driving within speed limits. With minimal traffic violations, you can reduce your auto insurance premium.

Compare Quotes

The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends obtaining quotes from different insurance companies, especially when you’re about to renew your policy. You can contact the companies directly, visit their websites, or consult the state insurance department for price comparisons.

When shopping for insurance coverage, be sure to pick a financially stable company.  You can check each auto insurer’s rating on sites such as AM Best, Fitch, and Standard and Poor’s. While some insurance companies work with agents, others do not. Take your time to confirm details and ask questions until you are satisfied. Your family, friends, and online review platforms are also excellent sources of information.

Get Higher Deductibles

A deductible is the amount of money you pay out of pocket before you receive compensation from your insurer. Deductibles vary significantly, from $250 to $1000. To lower your premiums, increase your deductible. However, make sure that you have cash available to pay the higher deductible when an emergency arises.

Drive Less

Most auto insurers offer low mileage driver discounts, which you can use to lower your automobile insurance premiums. To become a low mileage driver, you simply have to drive less. Some of the things you can do to achieve this goal include using public transportation, limiting unnecessary travel, embracing online shopping, and living near your workplace.

Work on Your Credit Rating

Insurance companies also use credit score ratings as an indicator of risk. Insurers generally assume that people with low credit scores are more likely to file claims compared to people with higher credit ratings. While the accuracy of this assumption is debatable, it’s never a bad idea to improve your credit rating and you may be able to reduce your auto insurance premium as a result.

Use these five tips to lower your car insurance premium. If you have more questions about your auto insurance coverage, contact First Insurance Solutions today.