How well do you know your insurance company’s claims process?
If you’ve been in a car accident, one of the first things you’ll probably want to do — after posting about the wreck on social media — is contact your insurance company. You’ll want to have a record of details about the accident, such as when, where and how the accident occurred, in order to start the process of opening a claim with your insurer. A claim is the process you must follow in order to be compensated for your financial damages resulting from the accident. For many motorists, dealing with an insurance company’s claims department can be just as stressful and worrisome as the accident itself.
At Lawsuit Info Center, we’re here to help! Use the Auto Insurance Company Claims Process section of our website to learn all about your insurer’s specific claims process and find out what you can expect while working on recovering damages that resulted from a car accident.
Just choose your insurer from the list on the right and read the details of that company’s claims process.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What should I know about my insurance company’s claim process?
Car accidents can leave you frazzled and confused. In the midst of all the chaos, one thing you should never forget to do is contact your insurance company immediately. You’re already paying for car insurance, why not put it to use in the unfortunate event of an accident. Negotiating with insurance agents and filing claims can be just as exasperating as the collision. Stay calm and patient. The process may go quicker than you think especially if you have collected evidence and followed the proper steps following the accident. Here are some necessary steps to follow after being involved in a collision:
- Contact the police– your insurance company will likely ask you to provide a police report.
- Contact your insurance company– contact your insurer to report the mishap at the earliest opportunity. They will ask you a series of questions regarding who was driving the car, who was injured, location and time of the collision, essential descriptions of the collision, which car on the policy was involved etc.
- Gather vital information regarding the accident– once you’ve contacted your insurance company, they will assign an adjustor to your case. The adjustor will conduct an investigation. Be proactive and provide your adjustor with photos from the scene, contact info from other parties involved, inspection evidence from both cars for damage and witness information.
- Contact your medical insurance if injuries are present– claims can be influenced due to the severity of any injuries.
- Follow up with your insurance adjustor – Make sure the story you’ve told the adjustor and the story they have on file match up. This is important because the adjustor will determine who the at-fault party is with the given facts.
How does car insurance work if I’m at fault?
Auto accidents are devastating and can cause an overwhelming amount of stress regardless if you are the at-fault party or not. Being the at-fault driver of a collision can truly add to the worry of the circumstance. Aside from dealing with personal property damage and injuries, additionally the at-fault driver is responsible for the other party’s damages as well. So how does car insurance work if you are at-fault?
- Insurance rates go up– If you are found at-fault or cited for the accident, your insurance policy will likely raise in cost.
- Damage liability– If you have purchased a collision coverage, your insurance provider will cover the cost of damages to your vehicle however, in collision coverage does not cover damages to the vehicle of the other party involved. Your liability insurance portion of the policy is what covers the other party’s property damages.
- Accident forgiveness– If you have accident forgiveness as part of your policy, this will allow your insurance rates to stay the same and avoid an increase regardless if you at the at-fault driver.
Is there a time limit to file a claim for a car accident?
Each State has it’s own rules and regulations regarding Statute of Limitations, meaning each States law determines how long the claimant has to file. Typically there is a 2 or 3-year time limit to file a claim. Property damage and personal injury Statute of Limitations also vary in length of time. Property damage commonly has about the same or slightly longer time frame than a personal injury to file a claim. It’s never a good idea to wait too long although, in some cases such as personal injury claims the victim may not experience injuries until months later. Some side effects may not even develop until after the time limit has passed. It’s highly recommended that you contact your insurance company shortly after the occurrence in order to file a claim to be certain no time limit will restrict you from possible compensation.
When should I NOT file an auto insurance claim?
At the scene of the accident, it is always a good idea to call your insurance provider however; there are some instances where it is not necessary to file a car accident claim.
- Single car accident- A single car accident always means that you are determined to be the at-fault party. There was no one else involved therefore you are solely responsible. If you do not have collision coverage your insurance policy is not responsible for the damages.
- Costs of repair are low– If you can afford the costs of repair it might be a better option in comparison to deductible costs.
- No damage- Often times, small fender benders result in little to no damage to either car. It would be wise to exchange information just to be careful however, not necessary to file an auto accident claim.
How long does it take for an insurance company to pay out a claim?
After you’ve been involved in an accident, it can be a stressful situation. Not only are you dealing with a damaged vehicle, but it’s possible you’ve sustained injuries as well. It is important to file a car insurance claim immediately to ensure you are provided with compensation for the damages. The thought of waiting for insurance companies to complete your claim may seem like a headache but the reality is most organizations have a target date within 30 days to pay your claim. Although most claims can be settled within those 30 days, some States have laws that require insurance companies to complete the process in a certain length of time, which may be shorter or longer than 30 days.
- California insurance companies must take action within 15 days and accept or deny the claim within 40 days after collecting proof. Once the claim is accepted, payment from the insurance company must be made within 30 days.
- New Jersey insurance companies must pay their insured party within 60 days of receiving proof.
- Texas insurance companies must pay their insured party within 15 days after receiving proof however; they have the option to file an extension of up to 45 days.
What is an insurance claims investigator?
If you have ever been in an accident and filed a claim with your insurance company, you may have heard of an insurance claims investigator. A claims insurance agent or investigator may either work with your insurance company or may be hired as an independent consultant. Basically, the insurance claims investigator will investigate and analyze facts of a claim to decide whether the case is substantial or not. The purpose of an insurance investigator is to rule out any claim that may be fraudulent or provide evidence that the claim is credible. Insurance claims investigators must be proficient in interview/communication skills. They must also be capable to think outside the box due to scammers attempting to swindle insurance companies and provide fraudulent claims. Steps the insurance investigator will take during this process include:
- Locating the claimant who will participate in the insurance claim to gather information regarding the accident. Oftentimes, the claimant will file a claim and become difficult to track down.
- Interview process, which will include interviewing the claimant as well as witnesses.
- Gathering more evidence including photographs, collecting items, measuring items relevant to the investigation.
What are some questions a claim investigator might ask me?
A claim investigator is like a mini detective looking to either prove the claim to be fraudulent or provide proof that the claim is valid. In order for the investigator to conduct a proficient investigation, they must be thorough and ask a serious of questions to collect the necessary evidence. When investigating a possible fraudulent matter, it is typical for the investigator to ask questions and gather personal information such as:
- Who was involved?
- What happened?
- Where did it happen?
- Why did the accident occur?
- Is that all you can recall?
- Would you be able to include any other details?
- Criminal history
- Financial records and bank statements
- Telephone records
Simple questions like “who, what, where, when and how” are generally asked to begin the interview along with some follow up questions. Follow up questions can either be straightforward asking about any details that may have been left out, or if the investigator senses fraud, the investigator may request bank statements.
Will an attorney show me how to file an insurance claim if someone hit my car?
Driving on the road can be scary. You never know how experienced other drivers around you are. If you drive, odds are that you will become involved in an accident at some point in your life. After the collision things may seem tense and stressful, but it is your job to follow the steps necessary to file a claim with your insurance company so you may be compensated for the damages caused by the accident. If you are injured or have property damage to your vehicle, it would be wise to file an insurance claim immediately. After all the stress of an accident, things may seem complicated and confusing when it comes to the insurance claim process. If you decide to hire an attorney who concentrates in accident claims, they may help speed up the process and will help file the claim for you.