When we drive a car on the roads, it immediately becomes prone to accidents with consequential damages. We can be safe by following all the rules and staying vigilant. However, there needs to be more assurance of 100% safety despite all the preventive measures. One must take a car insurance policy to cover themselves from calamities and financial burdens. Now that you have bought an insurance policy, how do you benefit from coverage in case of a mishap? What is the process of filing car insurance claims with your provider?
In this blog, we’ll cover what is a car insurance claim, when to file it, and how you can file each type of claim.
What is a Car Insurance Claim?
A car insurance claim is a formal request for compensation from an insurer to a policyholder. It’s also an “application for payment” or “loss/damage claim.” You use it when an unprecedented event requires compensation from the insurance provider if the request doesn’t fall under other categories (such as vandalism).
Understanding what constitutes an acceptable claim before filing one is crucial. Else, you might spend unnecessary time and money on something that doesn’t qualify. Such a situation where deductibles are high could lead to severe problems down the line.
When to File a Car Insurance Claim?
Insurance policies are often complex contracts drafted by legal agents of insurance companies. It includes several clauses that are of the essence in a time of need. The insured must thoroughly understand these clauses to avoid spending on repairs out of pocket.
Some reasons to file a car insurance claim and ensure they get approved for smooth sailing follow include:
When Your Car is Damaged
If an accident involves your car, filing an insurance claim is simple. Even if some uncontrollable act, such as a stone on the windshield or a tree falling on the body, has left the vehicle damaged, you can file a car insurance claim. You much call your insurance company and inform them about the damage caused to you or your vehicle.
When You Are Injured in an Accident
Suppose someone else hits you with their car, causing injury or death (depending on where they live). Their insurance company should cover all related medical expenses as a backup until they receive your payment. This is so long as no other factors are involved, like pre-existing conditions, which means paying out more yearly money than usual. Frequent doctor visits before getting into an accident due to circumstances beyond control, such as old age, can result in higher expenses than those directly related to the accident. So, these may not be covered under TPA, and a claim on the same shall not be approved.
How to File a Car Insurance Claim?
Now that we’ve discussed what a car insurance claim is, let’s understand the procedure for filing these claims for swift approval.
Lodge an FIR
In a road accident, the first action must be to file an official police complaint when there is an obvious culprit, and the damages are over $1,000. It is also essential that the police inspect the matter, considering their representation could help in resolving a dispute regarding claims.
Even if someone is severely injured, call 911 for an emergency. In some cases, the complaint can also be filed up to 72 hours after filing the insurance claim or a maximum of 10 days. Nonetheless, it’s best to complete this step within the first 24 hours. It helps your case by collecting adequate evidence.
Contact your Insurer
Your next step should be to call or email your insurance company. It will allow them to handle the claim process for your policy as soon as possible. The insurer will ask for additional information about the accident and its circumstances. Towing your vehicle is also a part of the claim that falls into roadside assistance. You might have to pay upfront if your policy isn’t cashless, but you will eventually be reimbursed for the same.
Provide all the Information Required
To file a car insurance claim, the insurer requires some basic information about all parties involved. This information can include the name(s), address(es), phone number(s), and driver’s license number(s) of those involved.
You may also need proof of ownership (your registration card) if it wasn’t already given when you signed up for coverage. This can be obtained from DMV offices online or over the phone by requesting an “insurance verification letter.” They could sue you later if you are at fault due to negligence for causing injury or damage during an accident involving your vehicle. No laws prohibit them from filing a claim with a third party after being involved in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, during which they suffered injuries requiring medical attention.
An exception is when a person is driving under poor visibility due to foggy weather conditions. It’s an act of nature, and everyone is responsible for themselves.
What Impacts Car Insurance Claims?
You apply for a car insurance claim for compensation from an insurance company. It can be made by the owner of the car or by the driver, depending on whose at fault in an accident. Car insurance claims are usually made after an accident. However, they can also be filed if your vehicle sustained damage in other ways, including if it’s struck by lightning.
If you’re filing a claim with your insurer but were not at fault in any way, for example, if someone else hits your parked vehicle while driving drunk, you might need documentation to prove that fact before getting paid out on it.
Insurance claims are subject to different state laws. Your insurer’s POC agent is the best person to liaise with various parties involved to get you the best possible deal.
You don’t need to pay any deductibles if you’re not at fault and have filed a claim with the other party’s TPA. In many states, the TPA also provides you with a rented car for the term when your car’s at the workshop.
The process to file car insurance claims is essentially similar across all insurance companies. But your policy and coverage will decide who pays for damages and how much will be covered. As a result, contacting your car insurance company as soon as possible after an incident becomes essential. They can guide you to understand the claims process and your coverage better. Always remember to wait for the insurer’s estimate before scheduling permanent repairs. Your insurance company may have contracted repair shops, which can benefit you in car repairs.