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.
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.
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.