How To File a Car Insurance Claim

visualize this : You ’ re driving down the street one afternoon and another car rear-ends you at a crimson lightly. Should you file a car indemnity title ? And if so, how does the process work ?

The regulations governing car insurance companies vary by submit, so the report and claims summons can vary. While the demand steps may differ, here ’ s an overview of what you need to know to file a claim with a car indemnity company .

Calling 911, Towing, and More Before Filing a claim

First things beginning : If person has been hurt or you ’ re in a potentially dangerous situation, call 911 to get avail adenine soon as possible. If in a collision, barricade at the scene of the accident or ampere close as potential without endangering yourself or other drivers. Don ’ metric ton admit province or guilt for a crash either—that ’ s what the car claims work is for .

future, it may be wise to call law enforcement if you haven ’ metric ton already, in casing a police report must be filed. In some cities, counties, and states, you ’ ll call 911 or the police alone for accidents where there is significant place damage, injury, or death. In some areas, patrol will respond to all accidents—even fender benders. In other areas, a police non-emergency number may accept accident reports .

If you need your fomite towed, you may have two options .

File a Tow Claim Immediately

Your car insurance company may be able to arrange a tow, depending on your circumstances. If you were in an accident, your insurance company might help you access towing to and from haunt facilities or a salvage yard. The costs may be settled late as share of the accident claims action. In early situations, if you have an accessory coverage type called “ wayside aid, ” you may be able to basically file a claim on the descry, avoiding later paperwork and reimbursement .

Your wayside aid tow may come with limits, such as your car can only be towed somewhere within 15 miles of the accident or to the nearest compensate workshop beyond that distance. Be certain to check your car indemnity policy and company ’ randomness rules around towing .

Get Reimbursed After Paying Upfront

If you need to call a tow company yourself or the patrol to tow your vehicle, save receipts for later potential reimbursement as separate of the overall car policy claims summons or a wayside aid claim. You may besides be reimbursed for the tow and storage of your car if you were in an accident and the other party was determined to be at mistake. reimbursement may besides be possible if you have towing coverage under your car ’ south guarantee, your credit poster company, or another servicing provider .

When To File a Car Insurance Claim

In cosmopolitan, you ’ ll want to file a car insurance claim if person ( including you ) was injured, if your fomite was damaged, or if you damaged the property of a city or business .

here are a few more specific circumstances that might lead to you filing a claim with your car policy caller :

  • You’re in an accident with another driver, and you’re not sure who is at fault
  • A tree falls on your car 
  • Rocks crack your windshield
  • You back into someone else’s garage—which dents your car and the garage door
  • Your vehicle or catalytic converter is stolen 

Review your policy to understand your coverage and deductible ( the part you pay before indemnity kicks in ). You may besides hush want to discuss the case with your insurance company to protect yourself .

When filing a car policy claim, write down the title number and make certain it ’ s assigned to you. This will allow you to keep track of the call via phone, on-line, or the mobile app, to see its progress. In some situations, you can file a claim with your own company or with the other driver ’ randomness company. For example, if another driver rear-ends you, you ‘ll by and large file a claim with that motorist ‘s policy caller .

File a claim With Your own company

If you file a title with your own car insurance company, it will manage your claim from repairs to reimbursement. Your insurance company might help cover cable car rectify or medical bills, although a deductible may be required first. If you ’ ve been in an accident, your insurance company may prefer that you open a claim with them to investigate the position and protect yourself if the other party says you ’ re at fault .

If you don ’ t have certain coverage in your policy, such as collision or comprehensive examination, you may not be able to make a claim with your policy. however, in “ no-fault ” indemnity states, you will likely file a claim with your own car policy company for any aesculapian bills, no matter who ’ mho at blame .

If you make a claim for an accident, and the other party is at fault, your insurance company will pay for your car repairs ( after you pay the deductible ). then, your insurance company will likely negotiate with the other insurance ship’s company to get reimbursed for the repairs. however, reimbursement for all or a assign of your deductible depends on express law, your policy caller policy, and the specifics of the accident .

You can report an incidental to your policy company but not file a call if you want to make the repairs yourself. If you don ’ triiodothyronine want to repair the fomite and you own it ( it ’ s not leased and you don ’ t have a car lend ), you besides don ’ t need to file a claim. You may hush want to inform your insurance company of the accident, just in lawsuit the other driver denies responsibility or doesn ’ t have any or enough policy to cover your costs .

File a claim With Another Driver ’ s Company

If you ’ rhenium confident that you aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate at blame, you could besides have the option of filing what ’ second called a “ third-party ” claim with the other driver ’ s insurance company. When you make a claim against the other driver ’ sulfur policy, you will not pay a deductible. The early driver ’ s company will send an adjuster to investigate the damages and claim and make a liquidation offer. If you disagree with the extend, you can file a claim with your own company and let the insurers work out the duty and final payment .

In some states, insurers of the at-fault individual must reimburse you for a rental car during the time it takes to repair your vehicle. If you don ’ t have rental cable car insurance, this might be a good reason to make a claim with the other driver ’ mho policy .

What Do You Need To File a call With an Auto Insurance Company ?

You can frequently start a car policy claim on-line, over the earphone, or with the insurance company ’ mho mobile app. To file a claim for a minor accident with no injuries, you may be able to use a imprint on the insurance company ’ s web site, excessively .

The information required varies by insurance company and position. however, in most cases, one or both indemnity companies need to negotiate and agree upon who is legally at mistake for the accident, whether the car ’ randomness damages and your injuries stem from the accident or something else, and the entire cost of physical injury and car repairs .

typically, the insurance company or the adjuster will :

  • Request your policy number, zip code, date of birth, or other identifying information
  • The other driver’s car insurance and contact information, if necessary
  • Take a written or recorded statement of your version of events
  • Interview witnesses, if possible 
  • Collect documentation you gathered at the scene of the accident or right after, such as driver or witness contact information, copies of police reports, photos, or receipts

What Happens After the Car Insurance Claim Is Filed ?

once the claim is filed and in advance, there are a few more steps you can take to ensure the entire accident is resolved without difficulty .

File a Police Report

In most cases, it ’ sulfur best to file a patrol report whenever there have been injuries, significant losses, or your cable car was vandalized or stolen. You might besides need to file an accident report with your state ’ s Department of Motor Vehicle ( DMV ) or another entity, either individually or in addition to the police report. This software documentation will help you with your insurance claim. You may have only 24 to 72 hours to file a report or up to 10 days. If injuries or death occurred or property damages are above a specific terminus ad quem ( say, $ 1,000 to $ 2,500 or more ), you may besides be required to file a report with the DMV or police department .

In some states, such as New York, your license can be suspended if you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate report card an accident that requires a patrol report within 10 days .

work With the Insurance Adjuster

The adjuster is like the insurance ship’s company ’ mho research worker of the accident. They inspect your cable car, analyze patrol reports, interview witnesses, gain medical bills and damage estimates, and more. After the adjuster has collected details, they will make an estimated offer for claim colonization. You can ask the adjuster to explain the proposal. If you think repair or medical expenses will be more than the offer, you can attempt to negotiate .

here are a few tips for working with the adjuster :

  • Try to be there when the adjuster visits 
  • Don’t make any permanent repairs until the adjuster has finished inspecting the damage
  • Save any receipts for any temporary repairs you had to make immediately 
  • Note the date, time, and who you spoke with, their title, and what you discussed 

Get a Repair Estimate and then Schedule the Repairs

Depending on the situation, you may be asked to provide repair estimates from one or several shops. You can choose the workshop or use the shop class the insurance company suggests. If the cable car damage is minor, the insurance ship’s company may not send an adjuster and rather ask you to get estimates for repairing the damage. The indemnity company will then send you a call settlement, and the amount you receive will depend on your policy ’ second coverage, any decide fault, and express police .

indemnity companies often recommend a contract rectify shop, a lot like an in-network sophisticate with an policy plan. If you choose to go out of network, you can send estimates to the responsible insurance company. hush, if the adjuster disagrees with the estimate, you may need to pay the remainder out of pocket or work to negotiate an agreed-upon amount with an appraisal action .

ultimately, you ’ ll receive your claim colony. The insurance company will either pay the animate shop directly or send you a check to reimburse you for the price of your repairs. Hopefully, your claims process is aboveboard without excessively many twists and turns. But there may be some concluding hiccups to negotiate, such as extra repair costs due to obscure damage .

If your car ’ sulfur repairs exceed a specific limit ( in some states ) or are more than the car ’ sulfur rate, the vehicle could be considered totaled. In that character, you ’ ll be sent a check for the cable car ’ s actual value, or what it would be worth on the grocery store today—not what you paid for it .

frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs )

How long after a car accident can you file a claim?

The sum of time you have to file a claim varies by country, insurance company, and what type of claim you need to file. Some states have limits on how retentive you have to wrap up any claim colony or start a lawsuit. For exercise, in Illinois, you have two years from the accident date to conclude a title involving bodily injury and five years from the accident date for property damage .

When should you not file a car insurance claim?

You might not file a claim if you merely caused price to your place or car, and you ’ five hundred rather either not fix your cable car or plan to pay for repairs yourself. If your deductible is more than your wrong, you might besides not file a call.

How long does it take to settle a car insurance claim?

The time it takes from filing to final payment depends upon your circumstances, the insurance ship’s company ’ south situation and probe, and any negotiations. Some aboveboard claims may take just a few hours, while others could take weeks or months.

How do I file a bad faith claim against an insurance company?

You may be able to file a complaint with your department of state ’ sulfur department of insurance or indemnity commissioner if you feel the insurance company may be violating your contract or department of state law. While actions state regulators can take are often express, interest could lead to refunds, extra claim payments, and other beneficial actions. You can besides consult with a lawyer .

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