Car Insurance Claim Process Advice & Tips
Following a car accident, emotion can cloud your thoughts and it can be difficult to remember to get all of the information you need to file a car insurance claim . Even if emotion isn’t an issue, the fact that most people don’t file car insurance claims regularly means that it can be hard to remember everything that is needed to file your claim. Here’s a quick list of things you won’t want to forget if you need to file a car insurance claim.
Witness contact information
In the event of a car accident, be sure to get accurate contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident. Getting contact information at the scene of the accident is the best approach, as tracking down witnesses later on can prove difficult.
Photos of damages
A picture is worth a thousand words. Taking a picture of the damage to both vehicles, and in some cases, the area where it happened can help you when you file a car insurance claim.
Police officer’s contact information
Most police carry business cards with their contact information on them, but even if the officer responding to your accident doesn’t have one, you’ll want to be sure to get his or her contact information including his name, telephone number, email, mailing address, and the name of the police force or precinct for which he or she works. The responding officer can prove a valuable point of contact when you file a car insurance claim. It may also help to get a copy of the police report for your records. Depending on the type, complexity (number of cars involved, number of things damaged in incident) and severity of the accident, this can also prove helpful in the claims process.
Vehicle information for all cars involved
You’ll want the license plate number, make, model, and year of each vehicle involved in the accident. Having this information can help speed up your claim by giving the claims agent more information with which to work. It can also come in handy in instances where the other person involved in the accident fails to report the accident to their insurance company.
Other important information for filing a car insurance claim
Some of this should be included in the officer’s report, but taking down this information yourself can help catch any inaccuracies or mistakes in the official police report. These items include:
- The number of people (not just vehicles) involved in the accident.
- The exact location of the accident.
- Condition of vehicles involved in the accident, after the fact. (Which car had a dented fender? A crack in the windshield? Etc.)
More than one way to file a car insurance claim
For years, if you were involved in a car accident you would have to spent a good deal of time on the phone with a claims representative in order to file a car insurance claim. There were no other options. Today, you can file your car insurance claim online and now, you can even file a car insurance claim from your smartphone using apps created by your car insurance company. Not all car insurance companies offer this feature, but most of the national brands (and a few regional carriers too) have their very own car insurance claim app. Many car insurance claim apps have been around for a while (see this NY Times article dating from 2011, and you’ll get the idea), and some are a bit newer. Compare.com reccomends that if you decide to file a claim through a mobile app, that you do so only through apps provided directly from your insurer. The best way to be sure where your car insurance claim app is sourced from is to download it directly from your insurance company’s website.
Still have questions about filing a car insurance claim?
If you still have questions concerning filing a car insurance claim, Compare.com recommends you contact your insurance company’s customer service department or your local agent to ensure you get the most accurate and helpful advice for your specific situation.
Learn More About Auto Insurance
When it comes to auto insurance, there are a lot of variables, a lot of unfamiliar terms, and a whole lot of peculiarities – particularly when you consider that each state has its own insurance market. Our Auto Insurance Explainers can help sort it out for you, and make more educated decisions about your car insurance.