Unraveling Insurance: Navigating the Claims Process
Anytime you are in a car accident, you will likely have to deal with the insurance company to file a claim. As if the accident was not traumatic and upsetting enough, you now find that you need to deal with unending phone calls and paperwork that never seems to end. Make your life easier by understanding how to navigate through the insurance claims process to get the compensation you need to cover your injuries and losses. Let’s see what this entails.
Know How to Act After an Accident
Although your first instinct may be to get away from the accident scene as soon as possible, that is the opposite of what you should do. Regardless of the size of the accident, everyone involved needs to remain at the scene until the police arrive and prepare a report.
While you are still at the scene, take out your phone and take a picture of all the injuries and losses and of anything you consider important to support your claim. Write down anything that got broken or damaged and make note of the date, time, and location of the accident. Exchange information with the other driver and gather testimonies from witnesses.
Never rush to repair your vehicle until you have instructions from the insurance company as to how to proceed. Keep a file of your medical treatment and all expenses as well.
Start Your Claim
Insurance companies expect to be informed of any incidents as soon as they happen so call them immediately. They may send a team to the scene of the accident to evaluate it and determine what will be covered and help you start your claim. In general, a car insurance policy will cover the loss of your vehicle, even when the accident occurs in your own driveway. If you have more than one insurance policy, you will have to communicate with all of them at this time.
The Claims Process
Once the insurance company is informed about the incident, they will send an adjuster to the scene to evaluate the damage and document any losses in order to determine the value of your claim.
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Talk to an Accident Attorney
Just like the insurance company has an adjuster to help them build their case, you should have someone by your side who will help you build yours. Remember that the insurance company will likely not have your best interests at heart but their own and they may offer you a low amount to cover the result of the accident.
If this is your first time filing a claim, you may be unsure as to what to do and may fall for the pressure of accepting this insufficient amount. They may also want you to sign a document stating that you are satisfied with the payout you received and will not go after them for anything further related to this incident. Do not fall for these pressure tactics and let your accident attorney do the negotiating for you.