Making an Insurance Claim in the Event of a Car Accident (in the USA)

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There’s nothing worse than crashing your car, whether it’s a minor scrape or a major collision, figuring out what to do next is a worrying concept. All’s not lost in this situation, and the saying ‘where there’s blame there’s a claim’ springs to mind.

In the event of an accident, it’s worth the research for a legal pursuit regardless of the severity of the incident, and it’s important to keep your composure and ensure you exchange details with the driver you’ve collided with. This is the starting point for all accidents if you intend to make a claim, and here are the details which should be collected:

          Name and Address of Driver

          Registration Number of Car

          Phone Number of the other driver

          Car Insurance Details of driver

It is also important to take some photographs immediately after the incident occurs, and be prepared for the later stages to make life easier.

This conveniently brings us to the next step of proceedings, which is contacting your insurance company as soon as possible to ensure you don’t invalidate your cover. The period you should contact within following an accident varies from cover to cover, and the requirement is usually anything from two days to two weeks after the accident occurs.

Keeping track of what happened during the incident with physical information is a great way to ensure a vivid recollection of events if the case drags on over multiple weeks, which alongside photographs is a great way to verify your statement of claim. The forthcoming action taken is largely dependent on whether the driver involved in the crash has insurance, and if they don’t it’s important to contact the police prior to engaging with your insurance provider.

When in liaison with your insurer, it’s important to be honest and recall the information you’ve recorded from the incident, including the date and time of the accident, how it all happened, and the weather conditions at the time of the crash, all of which are contributing factors. If the cost of the accident is below the cost of your excess, your insurance company will expect you to resolve it yourself, and otherwise your photographs can be used as proof to validate your claim.

How to make a Claim

There are various steps to follow when making a claim, starting with ensuring you don’t admit liability at the scene of an accident if you’re unsure whether you’re at fault or not.

Exchange all the personal details mentioned above, including car registration number, name and address of driver, model of car, phone number, the time, date, and location, and collate together photographs you have taken at the scene.

When you enter the website of your insurance provider, there will be a claim form present for you to fill in, where extra details can be entered if required. There will be an opportunity to list the contact details of any witnesses to your accident, and if the police have been involved in any way, get a crime number from them, especially if the incident is a criminal matter.

Following this stage, your insurer will usually send another more detailed form to complete, and remember to give as much information as possible while providing all relevant documents. Once you have supplied the information required, your insurer will proceed to contact the insurance company of the other party in an attempt to resolve the claim. If repair work needs doing, insurers will usually agree to work being carried out by approved mechanics who work with them, stressing the importance of waiting for the insurance company to get in touch to avoid paying for repairs yourself.

If the evidence provided suggests you weren’t at fault during the accident, you won’t have to pay any excess, and in this scenario your insurance company will recover money from the other driver’s insurance.

Being involved in an accident will probably cause your no claims to go down, which could give your insurer a justified reason to raise your premiums. On the bright side, you will have had the costs associated with your accident covered, but if you were a guilty party during the accident, you will have to pay the excess and experience a rise in your insurance premium. Either way, your insurance company is there to help you, and claiming is the best resolution following an accident if damages are sufficient.

I hope you have found this article informative, and if you’d like to comment below then be sure to do so and kickstart the discussion.

August 1, 2017 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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