USAA Claims Process
If you have belonged to the US military or you are the family of someone who has served, you can have USSA auto insurance. USAA stands for the United States Automobile Association. If you are in a car accident and you have USAA insurance, you should know this company is different from many auto insurance providers. They market their company to members and veterans of the US military.
One aspect that makes this company trickier to deal with is it does not use agents to handle auto accident claims. The entire claims process is done with telecommunications – by phone or Internet.
This lack of personal contact can make the car accident settlement process more challenging. Some clients may find it takes a longer time to get a claim settled.
As you are filing a claim with USAA, it is important to follow a few good practices to ensure you have a good result:
- Fully document all accident injuries, including any that do not show up until a few days or even weeks after the crash. If you are obviously injured and in pain, be seen by a doctor immediately. If you do not do so, the other insurance company could argue you were not injured in the accident.
- Get a copy of the police report even if it was a minor accident.
- Call or contact USAA right away even if it was a minor accident.
- Do not sign any legal document unless you must do so, such as a police report.
- Do not give any opinion to anyone about the accident, including the police, other drivers or witnesses. You only should speak about the cause and liability to your attorney.
Immediately After the Accident
Get all vehicles off the road and allow traffic to move. Turn on your hazard lights or put cones around the accident area. If anyone is suffering a serious medical problem or injury, call 911.
You should also call the police to report any car accident. Exchange vehicle and insurance information with the other driver.
Car accidents usually happen suddenly and without warning. You could have accident injuries that do not present themselves right away. It is important to get medical attention immediately after the accident and have any injuries documented.
Reporting the Accident
After these other matters have been addressed, you should contact USAA by phone to start the claim process. You will need to provide the adjuster on the phone with your policy information and detailed information about the accident. If the car is drivable, you may need to take the car to the nearest authorized collision center. If it is not safe to drive, USAA may have the vehicle towed to the collision center.
You also can download the USAA app to your smart phone and report your claim that way. It is a convenient way to report the claim; claim adjusters do leave the company and it is possible for communication about your case to be lost. Reporting a claim through the app ensures the case is completely documented.
If you want to use the online claims system with USAA, you must be registered with a username, which can be done easily with your policy data to get started. An advantage to filing the claim online or through the app is it is easy to check the status of the claim at any time and you also can upload or review documents relevant to the claim.
When you start the USAA claims process, the claims adjuster will ask about the car accident. It is important to be honest with your USAA claims representative. Do not misrepresent what happened as this will make it more difficult to settle the claim with the other insurance company. USAA may request information related to the crash, such as police reports and proof of your medical examination. Based upon the investigation, USAA will decide if you were at fault for damages caused by the crash.
When you begin your claim with USAA, it is advisable to have the following information available:
- Your police number and the full name and policy number of the driver at fault
- A copy of the police report if it is available.
- The name and contact details of any passengers who were in the vehicle; this is especially important if they were injured
- Documented evidence of vehicle damage, such as cell phone pictures
- Contact information for a good repair facility in your area if you need to get a second opinion
- Documentation of bodily injuries you suffered, including documentation from your doctor visit after the accident
Repairing Your Vehicle
USAA customers can take their vehicle to any collision shop or mechanic they wish, but USAA will probably provide you with a recommendation to a shop they work with in your area. Once your vehicle has been towed to the collision shop, the USAA claims adjuster will want photos to be taken and the damages evaluated.
You may decide to handle a simple property damage claim on your own. If you do so, just follow the regular property damage claim process and tools provided by USAA to document the accident and file the claim. Alternatviely, arbitration makes sense in certain situations. You can ask any adjuster about the USAA arbitration process and determine if that’s a good option for you.
In some crashes, the vehicle could be totaled and there could be serious injuries. In this situation, USAA may pay you the value of what they think the vehicle is worth. If you think that the amount that was offered was not enough, an attorney can negotiate a better sum on your behalf. Attorneys who handle car accident claims are skilled at negotiating with insurance companies. Even if you are skilled at negotiating yourself, you will benefit from having an experienced car accident attorney working with you on your car accident claim.