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. Document all injuries that resulted from the accident.
Reporting the Accident
After addressing the immediate matters, you should contact USAA by phone or online to start the claim process. You will need to provide your policy information and detailed information about the accident. On the spot you can arrange an inspection for your vehicle. 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. USAA can also assist you in finding a rental car if needed.
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. You can also follow the progress of your claim. Reporting a claim through the app ensures the case is completely documented and easy to manage.
If you want to use the online claims system with USAA, you must be a registered user with an active account. 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. You also can upload or review documents relevant to the claim.
Documentation of the Accident
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 policy 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. This is typically cell phone pictures of your car.
- 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 provide you with a recommendation to a shop they work with in your area. After a tow truck moves your vehicle to the collision shop, the USAA claims adjuster will want photos and to have the damages evaluated. Once the repairs are complete, you will pay your deductible to the auto shop. USAA covers the rest of the amount owed.
You may decide to handle a simple property damage claim on your own. If you do so, follow the regular property damage claim process and tools provided by USAA. If you end up unsatisfied with the decision made after reviewing the damages, you have the option to pursue arbitration. You can ask any adjuster about the USAA arbitration process and determine if that’s a good option for you.
Some crashes result in a totaled vehicle 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 offered was not enough, an attorney can negotiate a better sum on your behalf. Attorneys who handle car accident claims have skills to negotiate with insurance companies. Even if you are a skilled negotiator yourself, you will benefit from having an experienced car accident attorney working with you on your car accident claim.
How Long Does the USAA Claims Process Take?
Car accidents that result in injuries are more complex than only having your car repaired. If you sustained injuries or want to claim lost wages or pain and suffering, your claim will take longer.
For most claims, the matter resolves in a reasonable amount of time. In very minor claims, you could have your case closed within a single day. However if your claim is more complex or results in a higher payout, it could take weeks. There are steps that you can take to help your claim move along a little faster.
- Use the USAA app or website to file your claim. You can start the claim even if you do not have all of the necessary information. You can add details and documents at a later time.
- As they are available to you, provide USAA with all documents and pictures regarding your accident.
- If applicable, use USAA’s photo estimation tool. They may provide you with an estimate same-day.
- Using a repair shop that is USAA-preferred to fix your car may help speed up the process. This is because USAA can handle the repair order and payments for you. If you choose a shop outside of their network, it may take longer to schedule, complete, and pay for repairs.
- If you choose to have the repair payments sent directly to you, have an account chosen for electronic funds transfer.
Get Help With the USAA Claims Process
If you feel like USAA is not providing you with an adequate settlement for your claim, a lawyer can help. Regardless if you or the other driver involved in the accident are a USAA policy holder, you may need legal assistance getting compensation. In the event you feel like your claim is not handled appropriately, reach out to Lawsuit Info Center. We can discuss your case, risk free, and get you in touch with an attorney in your area.