As a driver, staying safe on the road should be your number one priority. Unfortunately, accidents can still happen, no matter how cautious and aware you are while driving. While getting into an accident can be scary, understanding how your auto insurance coverage works and how to file a claim can remove some stress from the situation. In the unfortunate event that you’re involved in an accident, keep these six steps in mind when filing a car insurance claim.
Six Steps to Filing a Car Insurance Claim
1. Be Prepared with the Following Information
It’s critical to keep your proof of car insurance, emergency contacts and medical information with you while driving in case of an accident. Your proof of auto insurance is essential, as it contains your auto insurance policy number and provides a contact number for your car insurance carrier’s claims department.
2. Check for Damages and Injuries
Before you do anything, make sure everyone involved in the accident is okay. If it’s safe to do so, move your car to a safer location. If it’s unsafe to move, turn on your hazards to warn other drivers.
While you’re at the site of the accident, document everything you can. Take pictures of the damage to your car and the other cars involved. Ask witnesses for contact information in case there is a disagreement about the sequence of events between drivers.
3. Exchange Information with the Drivers Involved
Before leaving the scene of the accident, make sure you exchange the following information:
- Name and contact information of all parties
- Driver’s license number(s)
- Insurance company information
- License plate numbers and registration for other cars
- Make and model of all involved vehicles
- Location of where the accident occurred as well as time of day, weather and road conditions
4. File a Police Report
Having a police report is strong evidence to support your claim and will give you a better chance at getting compensation. Law enforcement doesn’t always automatically report to the scene of a car accident, so you may need to call the police if you want to file a report from the crash site. If you choose not to call police to the location of the accident, you can still file a self-report after the fact.
5. Contact Your Car Insurance Agent
Your car insurance agent is a valuable source of information when navigating auto insurance claims. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, one of your priorities should be contacting your agent. You’ll want to find out the following things from your agent as soon as you can:
- Time limitations for filing your claim
- Time limitations for resolving claim disputes
- If you need estimates for damages
- If your policy covers a rental car while your car is being repaired
6. Get an Estimate from an Insurance Adjuster
After contacting your agent, your auto insurance company will typically send an insurance adjuster to document damage and investigate the losses. The adjuster will determine who was at fault and provide an initial estimate of how much repairs will cost.
Will making an auto insurance claim raise your rates?
Whether it’s a high dollar claim and/or you’re at fault, you could potentially see increases to your car insurance rate. How much your premium increases can vary between companies, but the increase generally affects premiums for three years following the claim.
Let SelectQuote Find the Best Car Insurance For You
When it comes to car insurance, it’s important to make sure you have the right coverage to keep you safe on the road. At SelectQuote, we make the insurance shopping process quick and easy by searching and comparing a variety of trusted carriers on your behalf—all in just minutes. Our licensed insurance agents will take the time to learn about your unique priorities to find a plan that meets your needs and budget.