Getting into a car accident is traumatic enough, especially if it isn’t your fault. You shouldn’t have to deal with the frustration of fighting with your insurance company to get the money that you are owed on top of everything else. Here are a few tips for making the process as easy as possible.
There are some things that you need to do immediately after the accident in order to have a less stressful claims process. You will need details and evidence when talking to your insurance company, so start right away. Once you have made sure everyone is safe, start taking pictures of the cars involved in the accident. You should also jot down as many details as you can remember, such as how fast you are going and what happened from your point of view. After the police have created a report, make sure that you get a copy. You may be able to do that right away or you might have to request one. Once you have all this information, you will be in a better place to talk to your insurance company.
Filing a Claim
As you get ready to file a claim with your insurance, do everything you can to educate yourself about the process before you call your insurance. The more you know about what is going on, the more you will be able to negotiate with the company to get the best settlement.
When you talk to your insurance agent, they will ask you to give a statement about what happened. This is when you start giving the details you jotted down at the scene of the accident. The more specific you are, the better it will be. You will also want to send the insurance company all the pictures you have of the accident and a copy of the police report, particularly if the other driver was declared at fault. You can also give them the contact information for any witnesses that you talked to. If you were hurt in the accident, include any information about your injuries and doctor’s reports.
Processing a Claim
Most insurance companies will require you to have your car inspected by one of their adjusters and repaired at an approved facility, so don’t take it to your normal mechanic without approval. They will use the adjustor’s estimates to decide how much to pay you for the repairs and whether or not your car is totaled.
When it comes to paying for injuries, it gets a little more tricky. Some states are “no-fault” states, meaning that, regardless of who is at fault, your insurance will pay for your medical bills to a certain limit. Beyond that limit you are responsible for your own medical bills If your state is not a “no-fault” state, the other driver may have insurance to pay for your injuries, but if they don’t you are on the hook for your bills.
When it comes to medical bills for injuries from the accident, there is a high likelihood that you are going to have to fight it out in court in a personal injury case. Because insurance limits are so low, the money that you get probably won’t cover all your expenses. And as Page Law points out, insurance companies are businesses and they aren’t going to help you out of the kindness of their hearts. Once they’ve paid all they are required to, they are done. However, you can recover more money in a personal injury claim against the other driver if your circumstances qualify.