How many of you have ever had to file a claim with your personal automobile insurance agency? I’m willing to bet that only about half of you have had the wonderful opportunity to experience the claim process. Most of the customers that come into the office after an accident do not know the steps they need to take in order to file a claim.
The most important thing to do before you ever even get into an accident is… make sure you have insurance, and that that insurance is up to date. The easiest way to make sure that your coverage doesn’t lapse is to set up automatic payments through your agency from your checking account. I know that sometimes life happens and stuff comes up and paying your insurance bill isn’t always at the front of your mind, let me give you an example.
One day a woman came into the office to report an accident. She had just recently lost her niece and had let her daughter borrow her car to help make preparations for the funeral. While her daughter was driving the car, she got hit by another vehicle that ran a red light. With everything that had been going on in her life lately, she had neglected to pay her monthly insurance bill. As a result, we were unable to file a claim and get her car repaired. Now, if she had been set up on EFT (automatic monthly bank drafts) she would have been covered. Being on EFT also would have given her a monthly discount on her premium.
That being said, if you know that you have coverage and that your insurance policy is up to date, the next thing you need to do is file a police report. Do not leave the scene of the accident (unless of course you need medical attention), call the police, and let them write up the report. It will take anywhere from 5-7 days to get a copy of the report for yourself. In the mean time, call your insurance carrier and let them know what happened. Their number can be found on the insurance ID card that you keep in your vehicle. Once you get your copy of the police report, send a copy of it to your insurance provider. Depending on the company, your claim should be closed in anywhere from 7-14 days from the day that they get the police report. No matter what kind of accident that you get into, or what kind of damage is done to your vehicle, a police report is the one thing you need in order to ensure that your vehicle will get repaired. Without it, insurance companies will not pay for the repairs on your damaged vehicle.
I hope that I have helped you understand the steps that you need to take to make the claim process as painless as possible.