How do I make a personal loss car claim?

There are many reasons to make a personal loss claim. It could be anything from a dinged car door to more serious damage. Having pictures of the damage and accident scene can help your case.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 14, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • There are many reasons to file a personal loss insurance claim.
  • To help your case, take pictures of the damage and accident scene.
  • Include all documentation of repair estimates and medical bills.

Making a personal loss car insurance claim is not a difficult process, but it is an unfamiliar one to many people. A little research can give you the confidence you need to approach your car insurance company about compensation for your personal loss.

Personal loss car insurance claims can come in many forms.

  • Maybe your car was dinged by another car’s door as they sat in a parking lot.
  • Maybe you were involved in a fender bender.
  • Perhaps the situation was more serious, with injuries and major damage to your vehicle.

Whatever the case, there are several guidelines that will help you handle the situation in a manner that is as organized and thorough as possible.

Read on to learn all about personal loss auto insurance claims and then enter your zip above for a free car insurance comparison!

When Your Camera Phone Really Comes in Handy


In the event of an accident, take a photo of the accident scene and all damage to your person or vehicle immediately. Document the scene from different angles, with close-ups of specific areas of damage and wider shots to show the layout of the accident.

The close-ups will help you show details of the damage, while the photos of the overall location will put the accident in context.

The more photos you take, the more likely it is that things you may not think to look for in the heat of the moment will show up when you examine the photos with a clearer mind after the fact.

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Know Who You’re Dealing With

You will need to get several key pieces of information from the other driver(s) involved in the accident. This information includes:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Insurance provider
  • Insurance policy number
  • Vehicle description including year, make, and model

Call Your Insurance Company

Put in a call to your insurance company as soon as possible. Many companies put a time limit, such as one year, on the settlement of claims from start to finish.

Since the process can take a long time, it is in your best interest to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. However, it is wise to go to the table with a good understanding of your policy and what it covers.

Take some time to go over your policy before you speak with your insurance company adjuster. This will help ensure that there are no surprises and that you are able to advocate for yourself from a knowledgeable position.

Once you’ve organized all documentation related to the accident, you should pass copies along to your adjuster. The more details you can back up with documentation, the better:

  • car repair quotes or bills
  • medical bills and reports
  • work-related paperwork showing time off from the job

These documents can contribute to a clearer and more quantifiable idea of what happened and what compensation you are entitled to.

Know How Much You’re Worth

The documentation described above should give you a good idea about how much compensation you deserve. You should have a specific sum in mind that is supported by paperwork.

While the adjuster may give you a different estimate, you do not have to accept his or her first offer. In fact, it would be foolish to do so. Adjusters usually start with an offer much lower than the one they are ultimately authorized to pay.

One way to convey your request to the insurance company is through the “demand letter.” This is a written document that details the facts of your claim including liability, injuries, costs, and other factors.

You should request a specific sum as compensation. Most of that sum should be substantiated with copies of documentation from the accident, though an additional and more subjective amount for “pain and suffering” may be added.

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Stay in Contact

Once you’ve provided all the information required, you should:

  • Stay on top of the matter.
  • Fill out any additional paperwork as soon as it comes in.
  • Call the insurance company adjuster if you have any questions, or to check in on the status of your claim.

Don’t be afraid of being a nuisance! Since nobody cares more about your claim than you do, you are the one who needs to make sure it gets the attention you think it deserves.

A Good Company Will Make the Process Easier


You can put yourself on more solid footing from the beginning by making sure your car insurance company has a reputation for good customer service and follow-through.

Using an on-line quote comparison tool will allow you to see many different options lined up against each other for a thorough comparison.

When it comes to making a personal loss car insurance claim, your best bet is to ensure that you are working with a trustworthy and dedicated insurance provider. Compare quotes today!

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