It is simply a matter of statistics; the longer you drive, the more likely you will have an auto accident and need to consider filing an auto insurance claim. In any given year, there are over 6 million car accidents, over 3 million injuries and over 42,000 fatalities. Learn what you need to know to deal with the formalities of filing a car insurance claim to make things just that much easier if and when the time comes.
Filing a Car Insurance Claim – When Do You Need to?
Minor accidents in which nobody is injured and damage to vehicles is under the deductible amount are usually negotiated civilly between the drivers without needing to file a car insurance claim.
Even in minor accidents, a police officer should be summoned to make a legal report at the scene. Collect all appropriate information including the number names and contact information of the occupants of the other vehicle and any other witnesses. Be mindful that staged accidents can occur in which you are made to look like the guilty driver. Recording every detail will make it more difficult for criminals to perpetrate auto insurance fraud by staging an accident.
Even contacting your insurer and asking questions about filing a claim can be recorded on your car insurance record. Regardless of who is at fault, determine if you can afford to pay for the damages without breaking your bank. If you can, don’t file a claim.
Car Insurance Claim Payment
Once you decide that filing a claim is the right thing to do, you should do it immediately so your insurer can come on board as your advocate. Your insurer will confer with the other vehicle’s insurer and iron out a plan for resolution. Expect to hear from the other insurer to corroborate the details of the accident.
Once your claim is approved, you will be eligible to receive an insurance claim payment. Your vehicle may be inspected by an insurance adjustor or by a shop approved by your insurer to repair the damage. Many insurers now offer a “first time forgiveness” policy in which your rates will not be increased after you have your first claim. It is still the best advice to avoid filing a claim unless it would result in financial hardship for you.