If you are thinking of filing a car insurance claim, you must check your policy first and verify what is covered. If you have a comprehensive or collision coverage, your insurer will likely pay for the claim, even if you are at fault. But you should also keep in mind that since you are at fault, filing the claim can increase your policy rates.
Guidelines to help you file a claim
Car insurance protects you against loss associated with bodily injury and personal damages in the event of an accident. The following guidelines can help you file your claim.
- You must exchange contact information (license plate numbers, name of the insurance company and its phone number) with the other driver involved in the accident. You can also find the contact details of the other driver’s insurer on his insurance identification card.
- Look for witnesses and ask them if they are ready to reveal what they saw in case their account of the accident is required. If they are willing to testify, ask for their names and contact numbers.
- You must get a report prepared by the local law enforcement officers. These officers prepare a report after investigating the accident. In case you cannot reach the law enforcement authorities, you may get your report prepared by the police departments or the local Department of Motor Vehicles.
- You must inform your insurer about the accident as soon as possible. Most insurance companies have 24-hour phone service for filing claims.
- If the other driver is at fault and you do not have collision coverage on your car, you can file a claim against the other driver’s insurer. When you are pursuing a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance, you must inform the at-fault driver’s insurance company that you will ask for reimbursement for the loss.
If you are not satisfied with the costs of damages reimbursed to you, the appraisal clause of your auto policy can be used to settle the dispute. In such a case, you may also ask your car insurance company for a form of arbitration.