With over 250 million automobiles currently occupying American roads, drivers are at constant risk of accidents. Many drivers experience auto collisions each year and they are an unavoidable aspect of life for those who drive their own automobiles.
However, there are precious few drivers who readily grasp the complexities of filing a claim and seeing the process through to the very end. By following these helpful tips, you can develop a better understanding of the vehicle collision claims process and how to make it work for you.
Beginning The Process
The first step that should be taken after an auto accident, besides making sure that no one is seriously injured, is calling your insurance carrier or insurance agent. The necessary authorities must also be contacted, so that you are able to file a report. From there, the insurance agent sends an adjuster to the accident site.
The adjuster looks over your vehicle, assesses the damages, and provides the client with a repair estimate based on the results of their inspection. While some might believe that they are entitled to a check after this part of the process is complete, this would be a mistake on the part of the insurance provider.
Filing The Claim
In order to file a successful claim, you will need to collect all of the pertinent information regarding your accident. All of this information must be gathered before placing the call to your insurance agent. Your insurance policy number and the number of the police report are both necessary.
Any and all information that you can provide about other parties who are involved in the accident is crucial. Their insurance information, their name, their date of birth, their phone number and address should all be included when filing the claim.
Were there any witnesses on the scene? Then provide their contact information to the insurance company, as well. You may also need to provide the insurance company with a statement over the phone. So be sure to take great notes throughout the process, keep this information in one location and have detailed photos on hand, if possible.
Don't Look To Cash An Immediate Check
Do not accept a check from your insurance company before any work has been done on your vehicle, as this absolves them of all damages and keeps you from being able to collect additional monies as needed. If they send a check anyways, do not cash it for any reason. Damage that is done to your vehicle is not always immediately visible and cashing a check lets the insurance provider off the hook early.
Once the chosen auto body shop begins the repair process and you are able to find out whether the interior has experienced damages, such as a bent frame or a misalignment, you can then accept a check from the insurance company for all of the damages, not just those that are visible to the naked eye.
Repairing Collision Damages and Receiving a Settlement
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, receiving a settlement is not always a simple task. Insurance companies tend to seek reasons to deny claims and draw the process out for as long as possible. But there is a way to streamline the process.
By locating a local auto repair shop that can process your claim, this provides with several advantages. You no longer have to speak with an insurance carrier directly and many repair shops have their own experts on hand who have dealt with claims just like yours in the past.
Local body shops can write an estimate and submit it directly to the insurance carrier, as long as you are able to authorize it. If all goes according to plan, the check is issued directly to the body shop and you are back on the road in no time, a true win-win scenario.