We all hope it won’t happen to us, but sometimes a car accident can put a hold on your plans for the day. And if getting in an accident isn’t frustrating enough, the process for filing a car insurance claim can be confusing and drawn out if you’re not prepared for how the system works. This guide will help navigate the ins and outs of filing your first insurance claim after a car accident.
Step 1: The insurance claim is filed
If you’re in a car accident, the first thing you should do is determine whether anyone needs medical attention. Once the situation is stable, gather the other driver’s insurance information and contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. You’ll be assigned a claims adjuster who will be responsible for coordinating the insurance claim. Make sure to file a police report as well; it’s the best way for your insurance company to understand the events of the car accident.
Step 2: Property damage is estimated
Depending on the damage resulting from the car accident and your car insurance coverage, the claims adjuster will determine the best course of action. Most car insurance companies maintain relationships with various vehicle repair garages, and will refer you to a local mechanic if necessary. The claims adjuster will also assess the damage and determine how much repairs should cost.
Step 3: Fault is determined
Based on the actions of each driver and the police report, the insurance company will determine who is at fault in the car accident. It is the responsibility of the at-fault driver, or that driver’s insurance company, to pay for damages. If the at-fault driver only has liability insurance coverage, damages to his or her vehicle will not be covered. It is possible for the claims adjuster to divide fault among both parties, and find each driver responsible for a percentage of the repairs.
Step 4: Property damage payments are made; the insurance claim is closed
Once fault is determined, the liable driver or that driver’s insurance company will pay for repairs to the vehicles, minus your deductible. Once payment is made and the vehicles are repaired, the claim is closed.
Things to keep in mind
It’s important never to admit fault after an accident. Even if you believe you are at fault, it’s possible that you misperceived the events of the crash. Wait until a police officer or claims adjuster is able to properly assess the situation. It’s also very important to protect your vehicle with auto insurance whenever you’re driving. Whether you need partial or full coverage auto insurance, you should compare the auto insurance rates and auto insurance reviews of several companies before choosing a provider.
Author: Dale Cooper
Sponsored content was created and provided by Nationwide Insurance.