What to Do when the Unthinkable Happens
If you are an insured driver it is bound to happen to you one day. You will have some sort of car accident, be it a parking lot scrape or serious collision. Whether or not it is your fault you will have to file some sort of insurance claim with your company. But what should you do first? To get you started here are some fact and myths regarding the car insurance claim process.
Depending on the state you live in you have up to a year or more to file your claim-If you are confused as to how long you have to file your complete claim consult with an auto accident attorney in your state. Although you may have time to file your claim it is always a wise move to get in contact with your insurer as soon as possible after your accident.
You must make a written or oral statement to your adjuster regarding insurable costs-If you have a serious collision your adjuster will contact you to make some sort of statement regarding medical, auto repair and miscellaneous costs. Lying is a bad idea under these circumstances as these statements can be used against you at a later date.
You must keep records of all costs incurred when making a claim-Keep all receipts for medical, car repair and miscellaneous bills incurred as a result of your accident. They are the only proof you have.
Insurers can deny a claim if you lied when applying for insurance-If you fail to disclose prior accident or traffic convictions, insure the vehicle under your name when it is really driven by your uncle in another state, leave out previous claims or lie about the address where your car is kept the insurer can “bounce” the claim. Even if the accident was not your fault.
Further expense filings require a demand letter-Say the accident was someone else’s fault and you feel you are entitled to a “pain and suffering” payment. This requires you send a “demand letter” to your insurer. Pain and suffering claims will usually pay out 3 times whatever your medical costs were at the time of the accident.
If you call the police at the time of the accident they will file the claim for you-They won’t.
If you are not at fault you don’t need to make a statement-Even if the other driver claims at the time of the accident that it was his fault he can still change his mind at a later date. Always make a statement with your insurer.
If you have auto insurance everything should be covered-based on who is at fault and what kind of accident it is you might not be covered if all you bought was collision insurance. So look into comprehensive and property liability coverage as well.
Auto insurance claims require no work on your part-To get fully taken care of you really need to be proactive in contacting your carrier and filling out the appropriate paperwork. Don’t be lazy.
I can file my insurance claim whenever I want-I don’t know why anyone would wait to file a car insurance claim but (depending on your state) you usually only have about a year to file. Do it now, dummy!