Getting into a car accident for the first time may be somewhat of a headache but knowing the auto insurance claim process will make things a bit easier. There are only a few steps for you to do and then the body shop can take over.
The first thing you should do is call the police so you have proof of accident fault. Many times the conversation at the accident scene is a lot different when both parties go home. I have seen people present expired insurance cards, false names, no driver’s licenses, etc. They may even offer to pay for your damage “out of pocket” to avoid having a claim brought against their insurance company. You want to avoid this if possible, most people have no idea what collision repair cost these days and in their mind it would be affordable. In the case where you have a car insurance claim without police report, it will be up to your insurance company to call the other person and get a statement from them, hoping they will be honest.
The next step is to call your (or theirs) insurance agent and file the claim. If the accident is not clearly your fault and the other party admits guilt, there is no need to call your own company. However, if they have no insurance at all, you will have to file on your own company. Once you file your claim, the insurance company will give you a claim number. The auto insurance claim process is really that simple but then a few decisions have to be made at that point.
- Time to find a collision repair facility- Decide where or who will be repairing your car. You can learn more on that here.
- If you are driving the car or truck- The insurance may ask you to take it to get an estimate. That is ok but there are a few things to keep in mind. We’ll go into the estimating in another post.
- If the vehicle is not drive-able at the scene of the accident – This is a bit more involved and we’ll give you some tips on that in another post.
- Ask about a car rental – Most policies should have rental coverage on them but sometimes not. The cost of rental coverage is very minimum but many insurance agents do not add it or fail to tell you about it, check before it is too late. If the other party is covering your car repair, you are entitled to a car automatically. Ask the claim handler to set that up.
Now you have a shop, your car is ready and you just need to drop your vehicle off. The auto insurance claim process is over at this point, now just give the shop your claim number and they will take it from there.