There is a right and a wrong way to file a car accident claim with an insurance company. Your answers to their questions, the explanations you give, and even the day you file your claim can allow the insurance company enough to deny your claim coverage. It is best to have your facts straight and understand the process before you attempt to file a claim.
Follow these steps when filing an auto accident claim:
If you have your policy, read it thoroughly. Understanding your policy can help you recognize the reason an adjuster may be asking you certain questions while filing the claim, and during the property damage process. Knowing your policy can help you avoid traps insurance companies try to use on their customers.
Be prepared before dialing the phone. Make sure you have all the information from the accident in front of you for easy reference. This includes the police report, witness information, street names, and details such as which direction you were traveling all come in handy.
The phone call to file your claim could be lengthy. Make sure you have a couple hours free to be able to explain your side of the story and answer all the questions they have for you. You may only get one chance to explain your point of view, so make sure your story is straight and you are confident when explaining the details. Do not be afraid to tell them you don’t know, or are unsure how to answer their question. Even though you may have an answer you would like to give, it is common for adjusters to phrase questions that will lead you to answer in such a way that they can deny your claim based on your answer. If you feel at all that you are being led in such a manner, tell them that you don’t recall, you don’t remember, or you just plan don’t know. You can always revisit the question at a later time when you ‘remember better’. more click negotiating a claim with an insurance company
There is no rush to call in your claim. Go home and relax for a few hours and try to take your mind off the stressful situation your car accident has put you in. Make sure you have calm nerves before calling in your auto claim.
No stone should be left unturned, or a question you have be left unanswered from your adjuster. It is their duty to help you understand the policy in which your car accident claim is filed under. Make sure you get definitive answers to all of your questions regarding your situation after the car accident. Make them tell you how long it will take to determine liability and when exactly you can get your rental car. Rephrase their promises back to them to make sure you are both on the same page and have an understanding. For example, “Okay, so I can secure a rental car tomorrow at Advantage Rental Car at 3:00pm, correct?” Get all the details of the claim settlement process you can. Ask them specifically how will they handle your claim and what you are entitled to. Ask them how long the process is going to take and what the next step will be. Set up a time for them to call you back with updates and do not hang up the phone until everything is understood. It is the adjusters job to explain everything to you. Demand respect and patience as you are in a stressful situation and you have the right to have your life restored to you back to the way it was.
Just as the adjuster is expected to do things for you, you should in turn offer to help them in any way you can. Many hands make light work and if you can acquire information faster that the adjuster can, such as a police report or repair estimate, your claim will be finished sooner. Ask the adjuster what is expected of you and repeat it back to them to make sure you understand. Always stay on top of the adjusters requests, and in turn, make she he or she is good to their word in getting you the information they promised you in a timely manner.
Before getting off the phone, set up a time for your next phone appointment to follow up on the current claim process. If the adjuster misses that phone appointment, or any phone appointment, contact their supervisor. Remember to teach them to treat you with respect and if they don’t, you won’t be afraid to go over their head.