A car insurance claim, by simple definition, is any request for payment under acceptable terms of a signed auto insurance policy.
The difficult part is proving to the insurance company that your situation is covered by the original terms of the contract. This application for benefits should be sent to the car insurance company who then must investigate the accident before any money can be disbursed.
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How the Insurance Company Approaches the Case
The insurance company has the right to approve or not approve the claim, based on their own perception of the events. In exchange for the right to make a claim, the insured consumer pays regular monthly (or yearly) premiums to the insurance company. The premiums you pay will later be used to settle another driver’s insurance claim, as well as to increase the overall assets of the insurance company.
Naturally, the insurance company is banking on you avoiding any and all incidents. When there is a collision, or an act of vandalism, or property damage, then the insured has a right to file such a claim in order to receive back those premiums—and maybe more, depending on how much damage has been done.
The insurance company will open up the car insurance claim and send a local representative to investigate the car’s damage, or ask for photos of the damage through email. The agent assigned to the case will also be responsible for negotiating the payment with the insured and the insurance provider. The car owner is not the only person who can file the claim. Sometimes an auto repair shop has the right to file a claim on behalf of a car owner.
However, because the cost of repairs eventually affects the price of the premium, not all policyholders are in a hurry to report minor incidents that could just as easily be fixed without involving the insurance company.
The Relationship between You and the Claims Adjuster
The representative that handles these issues is called a claims adjuster or a claim’s appraiser. The insurance adjustor evaluates the claim and determines whether or not the estimates are fair. The adjustor is not always objective. For example, if you pay your insurance company regular monthly premiums, then neither you nor the company want to see that money go to another motorist. You can believe that the insurance company will try to see things from your perspective and, if possible, dismiss the other motorist’s claims. Sometimes however, visual evidence and a convincing police report just cannot be dismissed.
You should be aware that a police officer will not always deem it necessary to fill out a police report. Usually, if the damage is under $500 by the admission of both drivers, then a police officer will probably not want to take an accident report. However, even if the officer does not want to fill out a traffic report, then ask him to fill out an “incident report.” Any statement from a police officer will be worthwhile in your case. Ideally, you want an independent and even disinterested party to give a version of the story. After all, sometimes people change their stories once they are on the phone and away from the accident scene
Why would an insurance company dismiss a claim? It can be for a wide variety of reasons. Perhaps the motorist hasn’t been making regular premium payments. Or perhaps a submitted claim doesn’t fall under the original terms of the contract. Then again, the evidence may show that only one party is responsible for damages. Remember, unless the situation is explicitly stated in the original contract, it probably will not qualify under general auto coverage.
Are there different kinds of car insurance claims?
A policyholder will have to file a claim for things other than just accidents. Any type of damage to their car that they want the insurance company to pay for will require a claim to be filed. Other types of claims include broken windshield, stolen car, and vandalism claims.
No one really knows how filing a claim with their provider will go until they are in the situation.
Some providers have a better reputation for handling claims better than others. If someone wants to see consumer ratings for their provider they can go to the website for J.D. Power and Associates or the Better Business Bureau
Tips for Filing a Successful Auto Insurance Claim
Here are a few tips that will help you get a claim settled fairly and as soon as possible. First, never hesitate to file a claim. Do it within one day if at all possible. Never hesitate to call a policeman to the scene of the accident. Otherwise, your story and the other motorist’s story becomes hearsay. A police report is a much more convincing piece of evidence to add to the claim. When your case is under investigation, you may receive a call from the other person’s insurance company. Their representative will ask for your version of the story. Try to write down your statement in advance. Going from memory, and stuttering over your words can work against you.
Besides, the other insurance company representative will probably try and trip you up just so he can dismiss your story. Watch these guys—they’re weasels. Of course, that’s only speaking of their insurance claim adjustors and not your wonderful insurance company’s trustworthy and hardworking representatives! The point is to recognize who is working with your best interests in mind and who is not. As with any professional phone call, take the name of the caller and write down what he/she says.
Lastly, it’s time to get your car fixed. Before doing anything, you wait on a call from the paying insurance company. They will send out an agent to evaluate the vehicle. If your claim is payable then remember that they will usually ask you to send your car to a pre-approved shop for repairs.
It is possible that they will allow you to choose your own repair company, but you can never assume this.
If there is a dispute over the matter (either an unpaid claim or an under-paid claim) you have the option to contact the disputes department or hire a lawyer, if the damage merits such a drastic step. Though no one particular likes the idea of dealing with an insurance company, they are the ones giving us the financial freedom to drive! You can find a car insurance quote online. Use our FREE tool right now to find an affordable full coverage car insurance policy! Just enter your ZIP code below!