Car accidents never occur at a convenient time. The reality is that we prepare the best we can before an accident occurs by choosing the safest car we can afford, driving when we’re most alert, the conditions at their safest, and by purchasing the best automotive insurance policy available. However, even with the best preparation there are still tens of thousands of accidents on U.S. roads every day.
Thankfully there are several tactics you can embrace that can help make your car accident insurance claim progress as smoothly as possible. This list is by no means exhaustive as every accident presents its own unique requirements, but it’s a good place to start.
- Contact your insurer as soon after the accident as possible. Serious personal injuries take priority, but once your condition is stable your insurance agent should be informed of the situation to ensure your coverage is fully utilized.
- Read your insurance policy. When considering what to claim for it’s critical to understand exactly what is covered and what you are entitled to. Information is potentially your most powerful ally.
- Know all you can about the accident. Take pictures of the scene and the damaged vehicles. Take notes about the parties involved in the accident. This information may all be very useful when you are later trying to prove your claim and contact people. In may all seem like overkill in the moment, but too much information is better than not enough, especially when the value of your claim is hanging in the balance.
- Make yourself aware of the insurance details of the other parties. Obtain their insurance company name, the extent of their coverage, and even the policy number if they are willing to share.
- Keep receipts of all costs associated with the accident. Medical, transport, rental car, hotel, storage, towing, and repairs may all be covered under your policy. You may have to prove any expenses that you have covered personally that are later reimbursable by your insurer.
- Always be honest with insurance adjusters. The last thing you want to be accused of is obstruction or fraud when your claim is being processed. Honesty is the best policy.
- Understand whether you have multiple insurance policies that could cover the losses resulting from the accident. Always choose the policy that provides the greatest overall benefit to you.
- Do not admit fault at the scene of the accident, and don’t sign any waivers. You have just been through a stressful experience and may not be expressing the reality of the situation.
- Don’t share your insurance details with other insurance officers. Let them communicate directly with your insurance company, just in case you pass on incorrect coverage details.
- Claim in a timely manner. Most insurers set time limits on when you can claim after an accident. Don’t miss that window.
- Get a second opinion as to the value of your claim if you believe your insurer is low-balling your claim. If you are entitled to more than you are being offered then you have nothing to lose by seeking a second opinion.
- Don’t accept an insurance check as final payment and settlement if you are not satisfied with the result. Seek a second legal opinion to ensure you are getting all that you are entitled to.
The best option is to avoid an accident altogether, if possible. Avoid distractions while driving and don’t push your driving distances too far on road trips. Take your time; driving at or below the speed limit may be too boring for some, but it may increase your chances of arriving accident free.