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CAR INSURANCE CLAIMS: HELPFUL TIPS
If you’re involved in a car accident, it’s important you maintain appropriate communication with your insurance company. The following are some helpful tips for what to do — and what not to do — throughout the insurance claims process. Prepare yourself in advance by bookmarking this page for helpful first steps after an auto accident.
Car Insurance Claims: What to Do
- Call your agent as soon as an accident or injury takes place.
- Review and understand your coverage before talking to your insurer or your agent. Read the “Coverage” and “Exclusion” sections.
- Take detailed notes of all conversations with insurance company representatives, and get names, phone numbers, and job titles of people you speak with, including their supervisor’s name.
- Consider whether you might have insurance coverage under some other insurance policy as well. Many people have more than one policy that might cover a claim. In particular, look at homeowner policies, “umbrella” policies, and materials that came with your credit cards.
- Take pictures, if possible, of damage to your vehicle, the accident scene, and your injuries.
- Be honest and forthcoming with your insurer.
- Understand the difference between replacement coverage and depreciated or actual cash value.
- Keep all receipts of meals, lodging, and purchases made in connection with time spent pursuing your claim or recovering from your injuries.
Car Insurance Claims: What NOT to Do
- Don’t give any recorded or written statements to your insurer until you are sure you understand your coverage. Remember you aren’t required to allow the insurance company to record your telephone conversation. If you have doubts, do consult an attorney.
- Don’t automatically accept the estimate or appraisal of your losses given to you by the insurer. Insurance companies will often try to get you to accept their estimator’s or contractor’s repair or replacement estimates, which might be a bit low.
- Don’t sign any releases or waivers of any kind until you obtain legal advice.
- Don’t accept any check that says “final payment” unless you are ready to do so.
- Don’t ignore time limits set by your policy.
- Don’t forget that you have a contract with your insurer. Your insurer has a legal obligation to provide the coverage it promised to you. Be insistent about enforcing that obligation.
Do You Have a Valid Car Insurance Claim? Call:
Car accidents are the leading cause of personal injury claims in the U.S. While most minor accidents (or “fender benders”) can be resolved through your insurer, accidents resulting in serious injuries or even death are best handled by an experienced injury lawyer. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, have your claim reviewed absolutely free by an experienced accident attorney.