Accidents may happen anytime, and when they do happen, one should be ready at all times to recover the loss incurred by having a proper know-how of how exactly to file an insurance claim. But, for filing an insurance claim, first you need to make sure that your vehicle is insured. So, do not count the expenses in such cases. When you have spent a hefty sum in buying the vehicle, you might as well spend a little more for its insurance. If the accident is a direct head on collision or anything of that sort, there would be two parties or two sides; you, i.e. your side and your insurance company and the other driver’s side and their insurance company. Here are certain precautions to be observed and the necessary steps to be taken in order to ensure that the insurance claim is properly filed.
1. Know before you claim
You must know about a variety of things before you go for claiming your insurance. You should know the extent and type of your insurance coverage in order to find out who is liable to pay the charges. In the case of an accident, look out for injuries that may have happened. Get a ‘driver information exchange form’ from the police which contains a checklist indicating all the information that is to be gathered in the event of an accident. Move the vehicle out of the traffic flow to prevent it from another loss and check whether the damage is above the provincial limit. Gather necessary information about those involved (from the other party as well) in the accident such names, phone numbers, addresses, vehicle identification number, license plates etc. Take photographs, if possible of the accident site showing the wreckage clearly. Proper information about what to do immediately after the accident is quintessential for proper insurance coverage. Don’t be distracted by the heat of the moment, be alert and proactive!
2. Claim Your insurance
Get in touch with your insurance company immediately. Be prepared to present to them every detail of the accident viz. date, time, people involved and their addresses, police report and also the photos taken at the accident site. Proper description of the accident by the witnesses can also help you substantiate your claim. The other party’s insurance company may also call you for your description of the accident, in case there is any argument between two parties. Don’t be late in filing an insurance claim, as you may face difficulties later if you delay it.
3. Co-operate during investigation
After an insurance claim has been filed, the insurance company would look into the matter and investigate about the accident so as to determine who is liable to pay for the repairs and up to what extent. An officer will evaluate the damage that has taken place and will estimate the approximate cost needed to repair. Do not hide any detail from your company as each and every detail would be probed about during the investigation process. If there is a disagreement over what is to be repaired, generally insurance companies & car shops are ready for a negotiation. Make sure that the insurance company agrees to pay for the repairs before the investigation is done with. After the investigation is over, the damaged vehicle goes to an auto shop for repair.
4. Payment and repair
Depending upon who is responsible for the accident and who is not, either party’s insurance company would pay for the repairs of the losses that have occurred. All these would be over and above the repairs of your damaged vehicle. After the ‘who is to pay’ clause is done with, make sure that the repair work is carried out exactly as you want it to be. You should be completely satisfied with the services offered and do not forget to take an official receipt from the auto shop which contains the details of the work that they have done. Also notice if there is any additional repair that is required to be done other that what has been mentioned in the estimate, and find out how your insurer handles these supplemental estimates.
Never ever settle for money, do not accept your fault if there is no fault of yours, and never agree to forget about the accident. Remember that any company would be ready to pay money without paperwork only when they won’t be required to spend that much as it would be required to cover the damage if they repair it. Go through the full process, no matter how tiresome or time taking it is and ensure that the damage has been fully compensated. If at all, even after following the process, there is still a dispute between the parties and there is a disagreement over who is to pay for the losses, then you will have to consult an attorney and follow judicial procedures. You can find a lawyer to help you through the insurance claims process.