Car Insurance Claims
What to do if you have a car insurance claim is something you should know – before you have a claim. This is very important information that would be required if you needed to file a claim with the insurance company and remember there is a long List of Mass Auto Insurance Companies to choose from.
Car insurance is funny – it is something required by law – so you have to pay for it – but you never want to use it! If you “use” your car insurance this means you are involved in an incident of some type – you are filing a claim.
Review Your Insurance Policy
This is a key point. When you are purchasing your car insurance ask questions of the agent so you are very clear as to what kind of coverage you have. Know you Bodily Injury limits and request the pricing on higher limits to see if it will be affordable to you. Remember if you ever need the higher limits it will be pennies on the dollar based on the higher payouts you or the other party would receive.
How Car Insurance Deductibles Work
If you have an accident that damages your vehicle, you get hit and run or if you have any other type of damage to your vehicle – and you have either Collision Coverage and/or Comprehensive Coverage – you have what is called a Deductible. This amount represents what you would be responsible for if you file a claim.
Click here to learn more about how deductibles work and how they can effect your budget.
What to Do If You are Involved in an Accident
- Call the police – this is the first thing you should do. If possible stay in your car and do not move the car from where the accident occurred.
- Get the other person’s information – if there is another vehicle involved in the incident – note, take a picture of or write down the other vehicle’s license plate number. Also ask if you can get their driver’s license number – if they will not give this to you – all the information can be obtained through their license plate.
- If you have a smart phone or camera take pictures of the damage – to both cars.
- Call your insurance agent/company to report the claim. Call your agent first – they will then give you the appropriate information needed to call the actual insurance company. You will need the phone number and your policy number.
- Call the actual insurance company with a pen and piece of paper to write down the important information. You will be given a claim number and write down the name of the person you are talking to at the insurance company, along with their extension number.
- Ask the claim rep any questions you have. Rental car? When will it be appraised for the damage?
- Keep in touch with the claims rep, don’t let time pass without contact and cooperate with them the best you can – if you are entitled to get paid this will help you get paid quicker.
What to Do if You Hit a Pedestrian
In this case it is very important that you stay on the scene of the incident.
- If you can help the person and/or inquire if they are ok.
- Contact the police and wait for them to come to the scene
- Cooperate the best you can with all those involved.
- Contact your insurance agent and review your policy coverage’s with them. It is very important that you know what type of coverage you have on your car insurance before you have a claim.
- We always recommend getting $100,000/$300,000 on your Bodily Injury coverage’s. Unfortunately most people get the state minimums – but it is always wise to get the most coverage you can afford to get concerning Bodily Injury to Others.
What to Do If Your Car is Stolen
If your car is stolen there are certain steps you need to take to increase your chances of the police recovering the vehicle.
- Immediately call the police. If a stolen vehicle is to be recovered it is usually within the first 72 hours – after that you will want to think about what you want to do.
- If they do not recover the car within a reasonable amount of time and you are not going to get another vehicle, you can cancel your insurance on the car by cancelling your license plates.
- If you are going to get another car within 2-4 weeks – you may want to keep your insurance going so you do not have to make another down payment to start a policy. If you are not going to be getting another vehicle it might be wiser to cancel – it is up to you.
- For future reference you can check out these tips on how to prevent your car from being stolen.
Car Insurance Claims and Your Rental Car
This can be a tricky situation. Some of it will depend if the rental car is from the same state that you are from. If so this can make the process a bit smoother. If not it gets a bit more complicated.
- Follow all of the previous recommendations about what to do if you have a claim.
- Then concerning the rental car situation, contact the rental company that you are renting the car from – or if the other car was a rental contact that rental company and determine who they go through for their car insurance.
- If the other vehicle involved was a rental vehicle write down as much information as you can about the other vehicle – make, model and license plate.
- Then call your agent and get all of your insurance company information.
- Car insurance and your rental car depends if you purchased their insurance or if you are relying on your existing car insurance to cover the claim.
How to Deal with the Claims Representative
When you call the insurance company be sure to have a pen and paper handy to write down any important information they may give to you. It is very important that you be honest and truthful with the representative. They are there to assist you in your claim and will ask you questions about the incident.
Let them know your policy number, the type of car and who was driving. Remember if someone else was driving your vehicle they must be listed on your policy as a driver. You need to be careful about this because if you let someone drive your car who is not listed on your policy, you are opening yourself up to the insurance company possibly denying your claim (depending on the specifics of what happened). Check here for information on who should be listed on your policy as a driver.
Unfortunately, one of the main reasons our car insurance rates in Massachusetts are higher than they should be is the rampant insurance fraud that exists. Good drivers pay more than they should because of this fraud – such as garaging it in less expensive territories, insuring cars for others and having people drive the car who are not listed because they would make the insurance much more expensive.
The key to a claims situation – is be cooperative and polite to both the claims representative and the police. It is important to know what to do if you have a car insurance claim. Follow up with your claims rep repeatedly until you get the claim resolved.
If you do get charged with the incident on your driving record and you feel it was not your fault it is important for you to know how to appeal an incident on your driving record. This, unfortunately, can take up to 6-8 months to get resolved so be sure to act on this right away. If you win the appeal, whatever insurance company charged you extra money for the incident would have to credit you back this extra money.
For more detailed information about car insurance claims check out our Blog and the many Car Insurance Claims articles available to you.
Good luck but I hope you never have a claim!