Unfortunately, car accidents are inevitable in countries that rely heavily on motor vehicles. Statistics show that over one third of all accidental deaths in the United States are caused by crashes on the road, with one person dying every 15 minutes due to car accidents.
Luckily, the majority of accidents do not result in death, although they do require you to file an insurance claim. As with all legal documents, there is a correct way and an incorrect way to fill out an insurance form. Following the below tips will help you fill out your insurance claim in the most accurate way possible.
Things You Should Do
- Double check the coverage on your policy
Although you are probably aware of the basic rules of car insurance, you should read over your policy before you call to make a claim. This will help make sure there are no hidden rules or regulations that will impede the process.
You should also make sure the policy protects other members of your family who may drive the car on occasion.
- Make your claim as soon as possible
Ideally, you should try and make your claim with the insurance company on the same day as the accident. Doing this will make the events of your accident are as fresh in your mind as possible, so you won’t leave out any important details that could negatively affect your claim.
- Get a case number
It can be easy for an individual application to get misplaced at an insurance company. If you have the designated case number, though, you will be able to help the insurer find your details quicker. You should also try and make a note of the name of the initial person you spoke to when making a claim.
- File all relevant documents
You will need to send a number of details to your insurance company regarding the accident. This may include; photos of your car, any receipts for towing payments, and various identification information. Giving this information to your insurer sooner rather than later will help the company to process your claim more quickly.
- Choose a repair shop yourself
If you want to get the best deal for your car repairs, then you should pick the garage that will perform the work. An insurance company may select a more expensive repair shop.
If repairs are not covered by your policy, you could end up footing most, or the entire bill, yourself.
- Assess the value of your car
Insurance companies will work out the financial cost of damage done to your car by comparing the vehicle to other models, and estimating the payout from there. This decision can sometimes be quite arbitrary, so you should do some research of your own to determine how much your car is worth, and how much repairs should cost.
Things to Avoid
- Don’t fill out a fraudulent claim
This may sound like an obvious thing to avoid, but research shows one in ten adults have made a bogus claim for car insurance payouts. These fraudulent claims are almost always discovered.
The repercussions are high: your policy is invalidated when you are found guilty of fraud. You should also take care not to exaggerate claims. This will also be seen by the company as fraudulent, and you will be penalized.
- Don’t avoid a claim to save your no claims bonus
Although it is highly likely that you will lose your no claims bonus by reporting an accident, the alternative is far worse. Besides, there are many other factors that are taken into account when insurers calculate the cost of your premiums. Being honest and open in the event of an accident is something that will work out in your favor in the end.
- Don’t settle with the driver at the scene of the accident
If the other driver involved in your accident offers to hand you money on the spot, don’t accept it. This is usually a sign that the other driver does not have insurance, and they do not want to get the authorities involved.
You might also find that the cost of repairs to your car is more than the money they offer you. This means you will have to pay the extra money out of your own pocket.
Although making a claim for a car accident can be a headache, it is always better to make the claim sooner rather than later. By following the above tips, you will ensure that your claim is dealt with in a timely manner and you will receive the best payout available to you.