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How to File an Auto Insurance Claim | A Step-by-Step Guide

Bam! That was the sound your car made as you accidentally backed into that pole, or the noise it produced when another vehicle sideswiped you. First off, breathe. We have all been there. The big question now is: What next?

Dealing with auto insurance claims might seem like a daunting task. But fear not! We have got you covered with this simple step-by-step guide.

Andrea / Pexels / If your car breaks down – for whatever reason – the first thing you must do is file an auto insurance claim.

Safety First, Selfies Second!

Before you whip out your phone for pics, make sure everyone’s safe. Check on all parties involved. If there are serious injuries, call 911. We know you are eager to Instagram the dent on your beloved ride. But priorities, people! First and foremost, make sure that you are safe and secure.

Summon the Police

For significant damages or if someone is hurt, you will want to call the police. They will create an official accident report, which can be golden when dealing with your insurance claim. Plus, they can manage traffic and handle any ‘disagreements’ between drivers.

The Three “I”s: Information, Information, Information

Here is your checklist:

  • Other driver’s details: Name, address, phone number, driver’s license, plate number, and insurance info.
  • Witnesses: If there is anyone around who saw the mishap, grab their contact info.
  • Photos: Snap pics of the damage, license plates, and the scene. Try to get different angles, and maybe toss in a random selfie for moral support.

Hassan / Pexels / Before you take pictures of your damaged car, make sure everybody is safe.

Dial Your Insurance Agent

Contact your insurance agent ASAP, even if the accident was not your fault. They will guide you through the process and let you know what is next. If you are unsure, do not fret. Agents deal with this all day, every day. They have got your back.

Take Notes

Keep track of everything: who you talked to, when, what they said, and so forth. Maintaining a record can be a lifesaver if there are disputes later on. Yes, it might seem nerdy. But your future self will thank you.

Repair Time: Get an Estimate

Your insurance might have specific repair shops they partner with, but you usually have the right to choose where to get an estimate. Ensure the shop is reputable, and, for the love of everything, do not try to fix the dent with a plunger.

Nilov / Pexels / Instantly after the accident, make sure to reach out to your insurance agent.

The Paperwork: A Necessary Evil

Your insurance company will provide a claim form, also known as a “proof of claim” document. It might be a tad tedious. But fill it out thoroughly. This is where those notes you took earlier come into play.

Be Prepared for a Chat

An insurance adjuster will likely give you a ring to discuss the claim and determine the payout. Stay calm, and relay your side of the story accurately. Remember, they are just doing their job. And you are just trying to get your car back in shape.

Know Your Rights

If you feel that the payout is unjust, you are not required to accept it. You can negotiate and provide additional information or estimates. Plus, you can even hire an attorney if things get dicey.

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