How to Document Your Auto Insurance Claim

How to Document Your Auto Insurance Claim
  • Opening Intro -

    You've just had an accident with your car. Everybody is okay, but your car took a beating.


Quick thinking and accurate documentation can save you money.

You’ve just had an accident with your car. Everybody is okay, but your car took a beating. If your auto insurance coverage is adequate, then you’ll be made whole quickly with the only cost to you being the deductible. Getting in an accident, however, requires some clear thinking on your part, which means documenting the details of the accident and filing a claim as soon as possible with your auto insurer. Read on and we’ll take a look at some “how to” tips for you to settle your claim.

1. Notify the authorities. The nearest police department should be notified following an accident as soon as you determine that everyone is okay. Calmly dial 9-1-1 and give your name, explain what happened and where you are located. When the police arrive explain your side of the story and obtain a copy of the police report. You’ll be sending a copy of that report along with your claim information to your insurer.

2. Share information with the other driver. If your accident involves two or more vehicles, then you need to share your personal information with the other parties and vice versa. Write down license plate information, the make/model and year of the cars involved, list driver’s license information, registration numbers and phone numbers. Write down the name of the officer who took your report.

3. Take pictures. Most cell phones are also camera phones, giving you the chance to take some pictures of the accident scene and the damage done to your car. If you have a digital camera, then use that, but a cell phone will do. Take pictures of the area around the car including skid marks, glass or debris on the road, and damaged non-car objects, if any.

4. Recap the accident. — Your recollection of the accident will fade, therefore as soon as possible write down the details of what happened. Be thorough and be precise. If you observed that the other driver was talking on her cell phone, make a note of that. If the other driver made a statement such as “it was my fault,” then write that down. There is no such thing as too much information — be prepared to give a copy of your notes to your insurer if needed or to an attorney if it comes to that.

5. Submit your claim. Once you have your notes in order and the police report available, then submit your claim. You’ll have already talked to your insurer at this point and an underwriter may visit you to take your information. Obtain the insurance agent’s business card and make sure that you understand the procedure for getting your car fixed. Some insurers will take your car and return it to you fixed. In the meantime, will you be given a loaner vehicle? If you have questions about your coverage, your insurer can help you. Consider upgrading your coverage if your current insurance policy isn’t adequate.

6. Settle your claim. — If the insurer’s settlement is sufficient, then your claim is settled. If not, you can ask the insurer to review your claim. Claims make take longer to settle if the other party was at fault or did not have insurance. Regardless, most policies include an “uninsured driver” provision to protect you from people who are not insured.

Final Thoughts

Keeping a log of everything that transpired from the time of the accident to the settling of your insurance claim is important. Write down names, titles and phone numbers. Contact your attorney if you were injured to preserve your rights and to ensure that your medical bills and possible ongoing expenses are covered.

See AlsoYour Low Cost Auto Insurance Quotes

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Categories: Consumer Tips