02 Jun How to File a Car Insurance Claim
Having a car insurance policy can help you get the best deals after your car is damaged or involved in an accident. For your claim to be processed easily, you must follow certain procedures. To file a claim, you have to inform the insurance company about the exact situation and make sure you follow the procedure correctly. Read on to learn how to file a car insurance claim.
What Is a Car Insurance Claim?
An insurance claim is a request for compensation for the policyholder’s damage. The insurer provides compensation to the policyholder according to the coverage guaranteed under the insurance contract.
There are two ways to submit an insurance claim – cashless or by reimbursement. Car owners who get to their insurance company’s partner garage to repair their cars are covered by their insurance company in a cashless manner since they are paid directly by the insurance company for the incurred repair expenses.
For cars repaired by garages that are not on the insurance company’s list, the policyholder is responsible for paying the repair expenses to the garage themselves. Then the insurance provider reimburses the policyholder for the same as long as the policyholder meets the requirements of the insurance policy.
Filing Claim After a Car Accident
You must immediately file a claim with your insurance company to get insurance benefits after a car accident. In the event that your claim is found to be legitimate and genuine, the insurance company will compensate you for damages caused to your vehicle.
The following steps can be followed if you encounter an accident with your car:
Gather Information at an Accident
When you file a claim with your auto insurance company, they may ask for details such as the names of all participants, the two vehicles involved, the location of the accident, and a copy of the accident report.
Many insurance companies are now giving you the option of downloading apps that allow you to report a claim, check the status, upload photos, find out how much your deductible is, schedule an appraisal, make reservations for a rental car, and request reimbursements for towing and glass. Even some apps allow you to visually re-create the actual events of your automobile accident to notify the insurance adjuster. Directly from your insurer’s mobile app, you might be able to file a virtual claim.
Contact Police Department
A First Information Report (FIR) is one of the mandatory steps in the car settlement process after a car accident, including theft, fire, or third-party damage. It is possible to avoid filing an FIR in cases where there are scratches and dents, and an insurance policy is mandatory for any physical injuries or third-party accidents. When the police arrive at the scene, they will identify the who is at fault in a car accident and distinguish whether the accident was caused by mechanical failure or something else. The FIR will also contain all the essential details about the driver, the vehicle and passengers, and witnesses.
Contact Insurance Company
In general, most insurance companies provide their clients with a 24-hour customer service number. You can easily gain access to the customer care number without wasting much time since you need to keep a copy of your car insurance policy in your car. If you contact the insurance company authorities, they may ask you to supply them with as much information about the accident as possible via email or fax, since this information is required for filing a claim. If you are filing all the documents correctly, you should submit them to the insurance company and maintain a proper file.
You can submit a claim online through the company’s website or any other website provided by the company if one is provided.
Work With Adjuster
Like the insurance company’s investigator, the adjuster is involved in the accident investigation process. As well as inspecting your car, they analyze police reports, interview witnesses, and gather medical bills and damage estimates. An adjuster will estimate claim settlement after collecting details. If you have questions, you can ask the adjuster. You can try to negotiate if you think the repair or medical expenses will be more than the offer.
The following tips will help you work with the adjuster:
- Attend the adjuster’s visit if at all possible
- Wait until the adjuster finishes inspecting the damage before making any permanent repairs
- If you had to make temporary repairs, save your receipts as soon as possible
- Keep track of the date, time, names, and titles of the people you spoke to as well as what you discussed
Get Car Repaired
Settlement of the claim can be accomplished in two ways. Cashless claims do not require the claimant to pay for repairs. Insurance companies should have a list of garages on their network where the vehicle can be serviced in such cases. The policyholder pays only deductibles, while the insurer pays the rest. As a result, if someone seeks reimbursement, he must pay for all damages personally. The insurance company must therefore receive original bills, receipts, medical records, photographs, etc. after subtracting all the deductibles, and the insurer will reimburse all the repair amounts. At this point, the policyholder can choose the repair garage.
Filing a Claim after Car Theft
The only way that you can receive compensation from your insurer in the event of car theft is to file a claim. It is recommended that the claim be made as soon as possible following the theft of the car to avoid any delays or discrepancies in the processing of the claim. The process of submitting the claim must be understood thoroughly to do this.
The steps you need to follow to make a car theft claim are as follows:
Contact the Police
The first step you should take after discovering that your car has been stolen is to file a First Information Report (FIR) with your local police station immediately. If you register a complaint with the police, they will ask for relevant information. After submitting your FIR, you will receive a copy of the report that you should use to file your claim.
Call the Insurance Company
Once a police report has been filed, your insurer will need to know about the incident in order to process your claim. Either online or offline, you can notify the company of the robbery.
The most common requirements involve submitting a claim form and providing information such as your policy number, car number, and information about the theft.
Get Insurance Company Request Information
Ensure that the claim forms are filled out completely. Be sure to keep a thorough and organized record of all the details relating to the claim, including any contact information you need for your insurance company and copies of any bills related to the accident. If you have questions, contact your adjuster, insurance professional, or state insurance claims department.
Insurance companies require certain documents, such as a copy of the policy, a copy of the FIR, a copy of the driver’s license, and a copy of the registration certificate for a car, to be able to process a claim. Ensure these documents are submitted for a hassle-free experience.
Receive Payment for Car
After receiving your claim settlement, you’ll be paid. Depending on what your insurer offers, they may either send you a check for reimbursement or pay the repair shop directly. Hopefully, your claim process will be straightforward and free from unnecessary turns. However, there may be a few hiccups to work out, such as hidden damage that will require additional repairs. Once the whole process is complete, you can receive the payments from the insurance company.
When Not to File a Car Insurance Claim
When a car accident occurs, one’s insurance policy is the first thing that comes to mind. However, there are certain situations when we should not file a car insurance claim as mentioned below:
When Repair Cost Is Lower Than No Claim Bonus (NCB)
In general, a No-Claim Bonus (NCB) is a discount given by insurers on a renewal premium after a policyholder has not reported an accident or claim for the preceding year. Upon the completion of the first year of claim-free service, the NCB is set at 20% and continues to increase gradually with the passing of each succeeding year to a maximum of 50%. A single claim resets the NCB to zero, another reason not to file small claims.
As a result, if the cost of repairing your car is less than the No Claim Bonus on your car insurance, it is advisable to avoid claiming your insurance after an accident.
When the Third Party Can Pay Your Repair Expenses
Third-party insurance is a type of policy that offers protection against damage to a third-party vehicle and loss of personal belongings. The insurer does not receive any coverage from the policy. When an insured policyholder is involved in an accident, the insurer pays for the damage to the third party’s property through financial assistance. As a result, the policyholder’s financial burden is reduced.
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim
The car insurance policy you have will specify when and how a claim must be filed. In most policies, you are not required to submit your claim within a particular period (30-60 days, etc.). However, you do typically need to submit your claim “promptly” or “within a reasonable period of time.”
The problem of car insurance no-fault coverage has been addressed explicitly in some states (especially those that utilize this system). According to the State of New York, a no-fault state, a claim must be filed within 30 days of the accident, unless you have good reasons for not submitting it within that timeframe.
How Fault Impacts Car Insurance Claims
You may have trouble proving fault, potentially affecting your insurance claim. Car insurance rates generally rise when a driver is at least 50% to blame for an accident. You can prove your innocence or prove that the other driver is at fault if you use certain resources.
Reports From the police
An official report is created and filed by the police when they are called to the scene of an accident. The report contains an objective assessment of the circumstances, with an opinion about who is to blame and whether drugs and alcohol were involved.
The Laws of the States
To find out if there is any fault that can be attributed to the other party in an accident, you must research your state’s traffic laws. You can also find out where your local motor vehicle department is located, or you can check with your local public library.
What to Do if Your Claim Is Denied
When an insurance claim for your car is denied, the insurance company will send you a letter of denial. The insurance adjuster gives reasons why the decision was made in this letter. To understand the insurer’s reasoning for denying your claim, you must read the entire letter.
If you are not satisfied with the insurance company’s decision that denied your claim, you do have options to appeal the insurer’s decision.
Your claim denial by the insurance company may be appealed if you feel the decision was made in error. You can appeal a denied claim with most insurance companies. Consider the following steps if you need to appeal an auto insurance claim denial:
Prepare the evidence you need to appeal by reviewing the documentation provided by the insurance company. A police report, witness statements, photographs, and medical reports can be used to prove that a crime has occurred. If you give the insurance company a copy of everything you provide, you will not have to worry about losing the originals.
Draft an Appeal Letter:
This letter explains how you disagree with the decision made by the insurance company. Make sure you explain why the police reports or other pieces of information were provided in step one. Refer to the policy information and the claim denial letter when necessary to give as much detail as possible.
Consider Hiring a Lawyer:
To get expert advice, or if you feel uncomfortable taking these steps, you may want to hire a lawyer. If you provide them with your case and supporting documents, they can draft a demand letter requiring the insurance company to respond and defend its decision to deny your claim. It may be expensive, but it could be worth it if you feel your claim was wrongly rejected.
Is Filing a Car Insurance Claim Worth It?
A rule of thumb suggests that you should only claim your insurance if there has been a large loss and avoid doing so in case of little mishaps, such as a minor dent on the bumper. Unfortunately, accidents can happen anywhere and at any time, but deciding to file a claim often depends on the specific situation at hand.