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Reading: How to file a car insurance claim
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Car insurance is one of those things you might not think about much — until you need to use it.
A range of events could require you to tap into your policy. The most common include accidents involving another party, windshield damage, damage to a park vehicle, larceny or acclaim damage, according to The Hartford .
To get your indemnity benefits, you ’ ll need to file a car indemnity claim. here ’ s what you need to know and the steps you ’ ll want to take to get back on the road a soon as possible .
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1. Get to safety
If there ’ s been some sort of damage-causing incident, the first thing to do is take worry of yourself and anyone around you. Make certain the scenery is condom .
then, if you ’ ve been in an accident, or if person has broken into, vandalized or stolen your car, call the police. They can help with safety and request emergency services if needed. In some states, you ’ re required to call the police after an accident, so make certain you know the law in your area .
Your indemnity company will probably ask for the patrol accident report on the incident. The patrol report can serve as a record of what happened and helps make surely the insurance ship’s company gets accurate information. You can check in with the patrol to get a copy of the report, in many cases within a day or two of it being filed.
2. Gather information
When something happens to your cable car, it ’ sulfur normal to feel shock — but it ’ second essential to stay focused on collecting accurate, exhaustive information to file your car policy call .
- Take photos of any property damage. Photos provide a record of what happened to your car and any other vehicle(s) involved. Note where and when the incident happened and get photos of the scene, too, if possible. You’ll need as much detail as possible for your claim. If there has been a natural disaster, remember that even after a storm, fire or earthquake, the situation may be dangerous. Be careful and wait until conditions are safe to document the damage.
- Talk to the officials who respond. Get information from the police officer who responds to the incident. A badge number and a phone number will help if you need to follow up and get more information later on in the claims process. If your car has been stolen, give the police a thorough description of your car and license plate number. Share your vehicle identification number and registration number if you have them on hand.
How do I handle a claim if police didn’t come to the scene?
You will still be able to file a claim if police didn ’ thyroxine react to the scene. If the damage is minor and there are no injuries, or if weather conditions are bad, they may not come. If that happens, you can go to the police station to file a report equally soon as possible. This may be required in some states if the damage exceeds a certain total. show shroud
- Hold onto any receipts. If you need towing, roadside assistance or any other services because of the incident, keep all receipts. The insurance company may reimburse you for them, based on your coverage.
- Don’t admit (or accuse) fault. You’ve probably been told to not admit fault at the scene of a traffic accident. That’s good advice — and it goes both ways. Leave determining fault to the officials, whether you think you’re to blame or someone else. The police and your insurance company can sort this out. Based on your state’s legal framework, the insurance company can determine how much fault — if any — each driver may hold.
- Note the other person’s information. Write down the other driver’s contact information, insurance company and policy number, make and model of the car, and license plate number and state. If possible, get the names of other passengers involved, too. If there were any other witnesses, write down their names and contact info as well.
What if the other driver is uninsured?
If you ’ re involved in an accident with a driver who is uninsured, you may hush be covered. In some states, drivers are required to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. In other states, this coverage is optional. If you have it, you may be covered if the uninsured party is found at mistake or flees the scene. Check with your insurance company to see if this coverage is part of your policy. show shroud
Contact your car insurance company a soon as possible, once you ’ rhenium dependable. Call the caller ’ s claims number, which is normally on your insurance card ( you should besides be able to find it online ). many major companies allow you to file a claim on-line or through a smartphone app .
When you reach your insurance company, explain what happened with american samoa much detail as potential. This is where that information and documentation you took down at the scene comes in handy .
If you ’ re reporting an accident, your policy caller will try to determine who is at blame, based on inspections of the vehicles and property involved, info provided by those involved and any other available software documentation, like photos or police reports.
If the other driver is found at blame, their liability coverage will probable pay for any damage to your car or your medical bills up to the policy limit. But if you ’ re found to be at mistake, your collision coverage can help pay for repairs to your fomite. If you have medical payment coverage or personal injury protection, your checkup bills may be covered up to your limit .
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Theft, natural disasters and other single-vehicle issues
If you aren ’ triiodothyronine in a multiple-car accident, one of two types of indemnity coverage may pay for car repairs or replacement, depending on the scenario .
- Comprehensive coverage: Coverage for repair or replacement after theft, vandalism, natural disaster or damage caused by hitting an animal or falling objects (for example, a rock hits and shatters your windshield)
- Collision coverage: Coverage for repair or replacement of your car in a single-vehicle accident if your car rolls over or if you hit another car or object
Check with your policy ship’s company to confirm whether you have comprehensive or collision coverage and ask about your deductible. Both are optional, but your car lend lender may require these types of coverage if you lease or finance your car .
If you ’ ve experienced a cable car larceny or housebreaking, let the claims representative know of any personal property that was inside the fomite a well. Ask whether those losses will be covered under your car policy policy. If not, they may be covered under your renters or homeowners policy .
besides, be surely to report the larceny to your finance or leasing ship’s company, since it ’ s technically the owner of the fomite .
Throughout the stallion claims process, stay in communication with the insurance party. It can keep you updated on your title ’ randomness progress .
Should I file a claim with my auto insurance?
Depending on the incident, you may decide against filing a claim and pay out of pocket to avoid a electric potential increase in your indemnity bounty. This might make sense if you were involved in a single-car incident and don ’ t have collision coverage, no one was hurt, no one else ’ s property was damaged, and the cost of the damages is less than your policy deductible — the sum you ’ ll have to pay out of pocket .
4. Get back on the road
After you provide the incident details to your insurance company, the adjacent step is a vehicle inspection, if needed. An insurance claims adjuster or appraiser will evaluate your car ’ south wrong and decide whether it can be repaired .
Scenario #1: Repairs
If the car can be repaired, the adjuster will provide an estimate for repair costs and may give you a list of nearby car body shops. If you have an car body or rectify workshop you prefer to use, the policy company may be able to honor that request .
From there, the body denounce will determine how hanker the repair will take .
The insurance company may pay the repair shop directly or alternatively pay you so you can handle the repair poster yourself .
Scenario #2: Replacement
If the vehicle damage is extensive, the insurance adjuster may determine that the car is a total loss. This means that the cost to repair your car is greater than the prize of the car itself, or the vehicle is unable to be safely repaired. In this case, the indemnity company may compensate you ( or your finance caller, if you finance or lease your cable car ) for the actual cash value — the market value of the car at the clock of the accident .
With a larceny, your comprehensive coverage can work in a exchangeable way. You or your finance caller may get compensated for either the actual cash value or refilling price value, depending on the policy you have. With a successor cost rate policy, the insurance company may pay you for the price of a new car that is the lapp make and exemplary as your totaled car .
With some policies an policy caller may cover a lease car while your claim is processed and any repairs take place. Check to see if your policy includes rental reimbursement .
After your car has been repaired or replaced, check in with your insurance company to finalize any paperwork needed to close the claim .
The procedure of filing a cable car indemnity call can be similar across insurance companies. But who pays for damages, how much is covered and whether you are covered at all deviate, based on your state and the details of the policy policy .
That ’ sulfur why it ’ second significant to contact your car policy company arsenic soon as possible after an incident. They can help you better understand the claims process and your coverage.
It ’ mho besides a estimable mind to sporadically review your cable car policy policy documents, so you understand what ’ second covered in certain events. You may besides benefit by shopping about to help make certain you still have the best policy and rates for your needs .
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About the author: Liz Knueven is a personal finance writer with a BFA in writing from Savannah College of Art and Design. Liz has been published by Business Insider, Carfax.com and LendingTree. Liz Knueven is a personal finance writer with a BFA in writing from Savannah College of Art and Design. Liz has been published by Business Insider, Carfax.com and LendingTree. Read more.