You’re driving down the road thinking about the day’s schedule when you are suddenly struck from the side by another vehicle. In this moment, your day’s plans change immediately, and you likely have a number of concerns.
If you have been in a car accident, your first job is to make sure everyone involved is safe. Once you have moved all of the involved vehicles to the side of the road and called an ambulance for any injured passengers, your next thought is likely to focus on repairing or replacing your vehicle.
To get your insurance claim processed as quickly and effectively as possible, follow the steps below.
1. Call the police.
Even if the accident was minor, it is always important to file a police report. If you are relying on insurance to cover the damage to your vehicle, you may need this report later. Always call the police following any automobile accident and answer the officer’s questions honestly and thoroughly.
2. Collect as much evidence as possible.
When you file your auto insurance claim, you will need to answer a number of questions and provide ample information to resolve the issue. While you are still at the scene, collect contact information from everyone involved in the accident and any willing witnesses. You should also write down license plate numbers, the name and badge number of the officer who completed your report and any other relevant information. If possible, take pictures of the scene and the vehicles involved.
3. Call your insurance agent.
Once you have collected evidence and completed the police report, you need to get in contact with your insurance agent as soon as possible. Ask your agent if he or she has any additional recommendations you should follow while you are still on the scene. If your insurance policy includes rental car coverage, ask your agent to help you arrange for temporary transportation.
4. Begin collecting repair estimates.
Before paying any claims, your insurance company will want to see a repair estimate. They will use this estimate to determine whether your vehicle will be repaired or totaled. Your vehicle may be totaled if the repair estimate you submit exceeds a certain percentage of the vehicle’s current value. If the insurance company chooses to repair your vehicle, an adjuster may also negotiate with the body shop on the price of the repair.
If your insurance company works with preferred body shops, you may be able to eliminate some or all of the negotiation process by choosing one of these companies. If you would rather not use a preferred body shop, you can simply submit the estimate from the body shop of your choice.
5. Receive your answer from the insurance agency.
Once you have submitted the required information, the insurance agency will let you know whether your car will be repaired or totaled. If the insurance company totals your car, you will receive a check that you can use to purchase a replacement vehicle. If your car will be repaired, the repairs can begin as soon as the insurance agency approves an estimate.
One of the easiest ways to simplify the insurance claims process is to start with a reputable insurance company and an experienced agent. If you own a vehicle, contact Lillie-Couch Insurance today to learn more or discuss your insurance needs.