Car insurance claims can be tricky, and knowing the how, what, when, where, who and why can sometimes be more overwhelming than the accident or theft itself.
That’s why we’ve put together a simple list of what to do before, during and after the incident occurs so you can get back on the road again.
Whether you were just in an accident, had your car stolen, or you just want to be prepared in case one of these super-awful things happens, we’ve got you. Here are 6 steps to help you handle the first few minutes and days after an incident occurs.
P.S. Printing this out is always a good idea, it fits in all glove compartments and filing cabinets.
Statistically speaking, car insurance claims have been increasing every year. From 2014 to 2016, collision claim frequency increased 2.6 % and severity rose 8.2%.
HOWEVER, filing a claim is not always the smartest decision. Unofficially, there’s an “ideal claim zone” where the benefits will outweigh the costs of filing a claim. The goal is to find this zone. The easiest way to do that is to calculate potential expenses and decide if it’s worth filing a claim.
Example: Say you’re in an accident and the cost of repairing the damage is $505. If your deductible is $500, filing a claim would definitely not be worth the risk of your premium going up for a difference of $5.
But here are a few scenarios where you would most likely want to file a claim:
If you decide you are going to file a claim, you will want to do it as soon as possible after the accident. Waiting can cause the insurance company to deny your claim.
Filing a claim can be the most dreaded part of your accident, but here are a few pro tips to help take the edge off.
Uninsured motorist coverage varies from state to state. If you don't have uninsured/underinsured coverage and you’re hit by someone whose policy limits won’t cover all of your expenses, you’ll want to assess the situation to determine if it’s worth filing a claim for the remaining balance.
If you have uninsured/underinsured coverage and are hit by someone who doesn’t have adequate coverage or has no insurance at all, you’ll definitely want to file a claim with your insurance.
A variety of factors go into whether your premium will be raised after a claim. Some insurance companies offer good driver discounts and other forgiveness packages. Your potential premium increase will depend on the severity of your accident, your insurance policy, and your driving record.
Most of your time after a claim will be spent waiting to hear from your insurer while they take care of things on their end. After you report your accident, your insurer will follow these steps:
In the long run, filing a claim could cause your insurance premium to increase. Depending on the damage, your insurance could decide to total your car or pay for the damage.
While filing a claim is never fun, your insurance agent can help guide you through the process and get you back on the road as soon as possible.