Tips to make your insurance claims process go as smoothly as possible.
The insurance claims process after you’ve been involved in a car wreck can be a confusing and overwhelming journey. There are several pitfalls along the way, which an inexperienced or naive person can easily fall into. The earliest of these can happen right after your accident, and wrong moves here can be disastrous for you moving forward. Agent Debbie Ward explains what you need to do to get off on the right foot following a car accident.
Who Ya Gonna Call?
The first call you need to make after you get into a car wreck isn’t to your insurance agent, the other driver or drivers’ insurance companies, or even to your own family to let them know what happened – call the police right away, even if it is a very, very minor incident.
Police officers are trained to handle car accidents, and will fill out an accident report at the scene. You will not get in trouble with the police for calling them after a car accident, and they certainly aren’t going to slap the cuffs on you and haul you off to jail for wasting police resources, even if the accident is minor.
Don’t let anyone at the scene persuade you not to call the police – even if they said they’ve already called them. You aren’t a mind reader, so the best way to ensure the police come to the accident scene is to call them yourself. In the worst-case scenario, the dispatcher informs you that someone has already called them and officers are en route.
Again, do not allow the other party to convince you not to call the police, and if they become insistent, stay inside your vehicle as you call the police. There are several reasons why the other party may not want the police involved – he or she may be wanted by law enforcement, may be drunk, or may not have a license or insurance. Don’t leave the scene before the police arrive. The other party could say things that aren’t true, and you wouldn’t be there to set the record straight.
Once the police arrive and complete their report, ask the reporting officer for the number of the report. The report will take about three days to become available, and having the report number with you will make it much easier for the officers on duty that day to retrieve the report. When starting the claims process, have the number of the police report handy.
Keep Your (Insurance) Card Close to Your Vest
Common wisdom dictates that people involved in car accidents should exchange insurance information with each other. DON’T! Wait for the police. Giving the other party your information could be handing it to an unscrupulous person.
Debbie has a client that recently got involved in a very, very minor “love tap” accident with another vehicle while both were stuck in stop and go traffic. The other person was able to convince Debbie’s client to avoid calling the police, and exchanged insurance info with Debbie’s client.
The client went on with their business until, later that day, she received a call from the insurance company. She learned that the other driver had already filed a claim against her, and also learned that the other driver said that she had refused to call the police at the time of the accident. What could have been a simple accident report and claims process now becomes a nightmare for Debbie’s client.
Never provide your insurance information to anyone who isn’t a police officer. It’s a part of the officer’s job to collect everyone’s insurance information while compiling an accident report. The claims process will be much easier on you if there is a police report available, complete with an assessment of fault and insurance information for all relevant parties.
We here at D. Ward Insurance cannot promise that if you follow the above steps that you will have a hassle-free claims process, but the advice should go a long way to prevent any major headaches during the initial part of your claim.
If you’d like to learn more about the claims process or get a fresh quote for auto insurance, please call D. Ward Insurance at (770) 974-0670 or click the button below to fill out a quote request form. We would be happy to work with you to get the coverage you want at a price you can afford!
The information and claim examples given in this material are for illustrative purposes only and should not be construed to modify language of the insurance policy or in any way influence coverage analysis under the policy for any specific claim. The insurance policy contains the specific terms and conditions of coverage and supersedes any information contained in this document,. Some of the coverage mentioned in this material may not be applicable in all states or may have to be modified to conform to applicable state law. Some coverages may have been eliminated or modified since the printing of this material.