If you’ve ever been in an auto accident, you know how upsetting it can be. However, contacting your insurance company to start repairs doesn’t have to be difficult. Here’s what you need to do to file a claim with your car insurance company.
Step One: Take a Deep Breath and Calm Down
Car accidents are scary. Before you start worrying about filing a claim with your auto insurance company, take a moment to calm down and take a deep breath. If you or someone in your vehicle has an injury, seek medical attention immediately. Also call the police to document an accident report and secure the scene.
Step Two: Call Your Auto Insurance Company
The next step is to call your auto insurance company. Most insurers print the direct number to their claims department on the identification card for easy access. You can find the same information on their website. You’ll talk to a representative and answer questions about what happened in the incident. You'll tell them about the amount of damage, and any details you have regarding the other driver. From there, the person you speak to will explain all applicable coverages on your policy and help you determine the best way to get your vehicle fixed.
Don’t worry! This process usually only takes a few minutes. You’ll receive the name and telephone number of your adjuster to call if you have any questions or details to add. This is often the most intimidating process for many people, but it really is simple.
Step Three: Have Your Vehicle Inspected by an Adjuster and Repaired
Next, your insurance company will schedule a time to have your vehicle inspected by an adjuster. In some cases, this could be directly at the body shop or it might not be. From there, you are free to take the estimate to your body shop of your choice. If your policy includes rental reimbursement coverage, your insurance adjuster will make sure you have a reservation for a supplementary car.
The process to repair your vehicle might take several days or several weeks. If the body shop finds additional damage that wasn’t listed on the initial damage report, they will contact your auto insurance company for what’s called a supplemental estimate. When the repairs are complete, they will call you to come to pick up your car and pay your deductible.
Of course, this is a very simplified version of the claims process. Incidents that involve large amounts of property damage, serious injuries, or fatalities often take more time and resources to handle.