Accidents can often leave you in an immediate shock state that you can’t think how to proceed with filing a police case and car accident insurance claim.
Here is exactly what you have to do with respect to your accident claim:
Note: Though we are primarily talking about the US and Canada here, the steps explained below is pretty much the same in most countries.
- First of all, if injuries or casualties are involved, immediately use your mobile phone to call the emergency number and get the ambulance and police. You may give first aid to the injured in the meantime
- If there are no injuries but serious body damage to the car, you may still need to file a police case in order to push your claim
- While awaiting the emergency or police vehicle, gather as much information as possible about the people and vehicle involved in the incident. You may want to take down the names, license plate numbers, place details of the accident and capture a few photographs using your mobile phone camera. In the case of serious accidents, try to get some witness information as well
- Next call up your insurance company agent and narrate the incident. He will usually guide you on the next steps which at times towing the vehicle to the nearest associate body shop, if the damage is heavy
- While your car is getting assessed for damages by the appointed person from the company, you may already file the insurance claim form. Provide all the details regarding the accident in your claim form and email or fax it to the agent as soon as possible. Some insurance companies may have online filing as well. By the way, if it is a minor damage, the car at this point is still with you in which case the company appointed insurance adjuster will visit you and assess the damage caused
- In the next few days, you may get a couple of calls from your insurance company’s lawyer and other staff as well as possibly a call from the other insurance company. Be prepared with your facts
- Finally, you will get a positive call that your claim has been approved and you may send the car to the nearest insurance company pre-approved body shop. You then get it fixed and back on wheels again
- Please note that in case of accident deaths or drunken driving related accidents there may be further steps with the law enforcement and legal departments
Other Accident claim tips
Always understand your insurance coverage well, before calling up the claim department.
Decide whether a claim is required at all. For example, if more of plastic and glass parts are involved in the damage, the coverage may be limited and the fixing cost high at the insurance company picked body shop. You may be able to fix it cheap elsewhere.
Keep copies of all records of the incident, claim form and details of your conversation (date, content, agent name) with the claim department.
Talk truth when you are narrating the incident to your agent.
Do keep receipts related to your lodging, work commuting cost, car rental etc until the claim is settled. Some of these expenses may be covered in your package.
Make sure that the insurer settles with you the coverage that was promised. In case of any doubt, take legal advice.
Happy motoring (again)!