All drivers are vulnerable to car accidents, even if one is the most careful person on the road. For this reason, you must be aware of which steps to follow after you’ve been in an accident. First, ensure every person in the vehicle(s) involved in the accident are safe. If there are any casualties, contact emergency support for rescue.
Inform the police of the accident, whether there were injuries or not. It is important as the insurance company will need their report once you file a claim. Use the following steps to file the insurance claim;
Inform your insurance company
An accident can be disorienting, and you may find it difficult to file a report the right way. Regardless, it is essential to file a claim with your insurer within the stipulated time in the policy, failure to do so may disqualify your application. Below is the information you will need for the claim process:
- Your policy number
- The details of the vehicle(s) involved in the accident
- Details of the drivers involved in the accident
- Get details of the insurance companies covering all the parties involved in the accident.
- Location of the accident, date, time, and weather conditions at the time of the accident
- The details of the police officer who responded to the accident and their report of the same
- Description of the accident. Your report, photos of the scene, vehicles damages, number of people involved, and description of injuries (if any)
Understand your insurance policy
As you file a car insurance policy claim, understand the policy cover you have. Establish what you are covered for and what you are not. Some of the information you need to know;
- Important policy claim timelines. Inquire from your insurance broker on time limits like the period within which to file a claim. If you fail to submit the claim within the required timeline, you may not get compensation for medical bills and vehicle repairs. Establish from your broker how long does it take to resolve a car accident claim, however, the agent may not give you the exact time, but a period estimate will help you to make adjustments as you deal with the predicament.
- Know your co-pay. Be sure to know how many deductibles you selected for various coverages. You can then calculate how much the insurance will cover and how much your deductibles will pay to cover the medical bills and vehicle repairs. If you were at fault in the accident, you are liable to pay the total deductibles. If the other party was at fault, they will foot the cost your deductibles would have covered.
- Rental reimbursement coverage. Find out if your policy includes transportation expense cover. The cover provides alternative means of transport or reimburses your commute expenses for the period your car is under repair. Find out from the insurance broker how the company will compensate you and the limits of how much you can spend in a day.
Get estimates in liaison with the insurance adjuster
Your insurance adjuster will assess the car damage and estimate the cost of repair. Apart from checking the vehicle damages, the adjuster will determine the person at fault in the accident. He will also approximate the total cost of repairs and labor. Some insurance companies may not have an adjuster. Instead, they may request you get a private adjuster for the estimates and submit a report of the same. Then the insurance will decide how much of the expenses to cover.
Have your vehicle repaired
As a client, you are at liberty to choose the repair shop for your vehicle. You also have a right to request for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) if your policy states as much. Be conversant with what your policy permits. If your policy states the repair of your vehicle will be cheaper than OEM repair parts, and then you choose OEM parts, you will be required to pay for the extra costs incurred. If you have a comprehensive cover, and your vehicle is totaled in an accident, the insurance company will pay you the total value of it in cash.
As you file the car accident insurance claim, remember not to accept or blame the other party. Any evidence you can get from the accident scene, be it photos, measurements, descriptions, and witnesses, will be of great help as you deal with your insurance company. Last but not least, be conversant with your insurance policy to be aware of what is required of you. A cordial, and positive negotiation with your insurer will determine the terms of your future policy covers.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has a particular interest in mental health and well-being.
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