5 Tips for Dealing with an Insurance Claim
Dealing with car insurance matters after an accident is no fun. Here are 5 Tips to help you manage your insurance claim so that you can get back on the road and put this whole thing behind you.
1. Brush up on your car insurance policy, before an accident occurs
Most of us know generally what kind of car insurance coverage we have — liability, comprehensive and collision, for instance. However, when it comes to the fine print, there are terms about which most of us have absolutely no clue (but that are sure to surface when it comes time for your insurer to shell out cash to repair or replace your damaged vehicle). So in order to make sure you are dealt a fair hand when the dust settles, sit down with your agent and learn what those big terms in the small font really mean. We advise doing this before a serious accident occurs; if, however, you’re reading this in the aftermath of a bad accident, it’s crucial that you understand what you’re entitled to moving forward. So when you’re done reading this article, bite the bullet and talk to your agent about exactly what your policy covers (not just in relation to this accident, but everything else, too).
2. Know your rights
Every state regulates its car insurance companies to some degree in order to protect its citizens from being shortchanged or cheated after filing a claim. Some states are more closely involved with this process than others, so log on to your state’s governmental Web site and search for its department of insurance to find more information regarding the fair settlement of insurance claims. You will often find a bounty of helpful information that will guide you as you move forward in this arduous task. Here are answers to couple of questions that we hear regularly and you may be wondering yourself:
i. Do I have to get my vehicle repaired at the shop that my insurance company tells me to go to?
No, you have the legal right to choose where your vehicle is repaired. Your insurance compa- ny can make recommendations, sure, but definitely find out why they recommend a particu- lar shop. Compare their recommendations to those you get from friends and colleagues and go with who you trust.
ii. Do I have to get an estimate from more than one shop before I can have my car repaired?
No. Legally, you are not required to obtain more than one estimate. Insurance companies will sometimes tell you to get more than one estimate and then pay you for the repairs based off of the cheapest estimate. This often wastes time as you drive around town collecting different estimates. If you know where you will have your vehicle repaired, you can just go to them.
3. Trust the Professionals
Estimates written by insurance adjusters are often incomplete and inaccurate. Moreover, many times there is damage underneath or behind parts that isn’t initially visible, so while it may look like just a scratch, there could be damage to the structure or frame of the vehicle that if not taken care of could come back to haunt you down the road. It is always a good idea to have your vehicle checked out by a knowledgeable and professional auto body repair shop that you trust.
4. Get moving again
If you are a claimant or have rental car coverage on your policy, rent the best car your coverage allows and get moving again. Having a rental car will at least help keep the rest of your life from falling apart while you get this matter settled. Depending on your coverage, you may not get as nice a rental as what you actually own, but at least you won’t be stranded at home or burdening your friends and neighbors for rides while you deal with repairing or replacing your car. Many times, rental car arrangements can be made in conjunction with your repair appointment eliminating the need for an extra trip to the rental car agency.
5. Ask Questions
The average person gets into an accident only once every seven years. Chances are, dealing with an insurance claim will be confusing and stressful, and you will likely have at least a few questions throughout the process. If you are unsure of anything or if something doesn’t sound quite right to you, please call us at any time. We deal with insurance claims every day, and with over 35 years combined claims experience, we know the ins and outs of the claims process. We are here to help you navigate these treacherous waters.