Let the Claims Begin!

Written by Ryan Hurlbert on April 22, 2010 & Posted in Auto Insurance

The explosive airbag deployment still rings in your ears as you exit your crumpled car, and wonder to yourself, "What has just happened?" When you find yourself in an accident, be sure to take the following steps to help ensure that your claim is quickly and easily settled:

  • Remain Calm. By remaining calm you may be better able to assess the scene of the accident. Do not admit guilt or apologize.
  • Call the Police. When police respond, they usually gather information and fill out an accident report. Ask them how to obtain a copy of the report. Your state may require you to file a separate accident report with your DMV. Failure to do so can lead to license suspension, so contact the DMV and ask them if you are required to file a report
  • Ask Witnesses for Names and Phone Numbers. Here is where being calm comes in. A reasonable person has a far easier time getting witnesses to provide help. In a dispute over what happened, witnesses that were not passengers in either vehicle can provide crucial and impartial evidence
  • Take Notes. This is especially important if the police do not respond to the scene of the accident, because you have no other account on record. Make a note of how many people are in each car, and get their names and phone numbers. You should also write down the license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN) of each car involved--you can find the VIN on the proof of liability insurance card. Note the address, phone number, and the driver's license number of all others involved. Diagram the accident scene, and note weather and traffic conditions

To File or Not to File, That Is the Question

If you are at-fault, and no other driver is involved, you may want to cover the cost of minor damage yourself and skip filing the claim. After all, you can only qualify for a claims-free discount if you are claims-free. However, if another driver is involved, file your claim right away. For a claim involving only property damage where you are not at fault, you may choose to file a claim directly with the other driver's insurance company.

Should you be at-fault, file a claim with your carrier even if you don't have collision coverage. If anyone was injured in the accident, file a claim with your carrier right away no matter who is at fault.

Your Insurer Can Be Your Friend

There are advantages to filing a claim directly with your insurance company, and letting carriers fight out claim details amongst themselves. Your insurance company does the leg work for you, determines blame, and defends you should the other party file suit. If you have collision coverage, your car repairs can begin immediately. Your insurance company's claims adjusters are not the least bit intimidated by the other side, and have a vested interest in defending you.

Claim the best coverage for your needs by filling out the form at the top of the page. Let insurance companies earn your business with great rates, prompt quotes, and personal service.



About the Author

Ryan Hurlbert lives and works in the Pacific Northwest. As an insurance agent, he produced and presented educational seminars on various topics from insurance basics to strategies for dealing with teen drivers. He has researched and produced marketing materials in the insurance, auto, and financial industries. Ryan majored in business and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Portland State University


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