Car insurance is required for vehicle operators across the country at the expense of the driver. Costs vary, though there are certain predictors for higher premiums. For example, residents of Michigan, Louisiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Mississippi and drivers under 25 pay much more for insurance than those in other categories. In fact, having a younger driver on a policy can boost premium costs by as much as 25%. That’s presumably because about 10% of U.S. car accidents are related to distracted driving, an offense for which young drivers are notorious. Another factor that can boost insurance premiums is a history of traffic violations or car accidents. That’s no reason to panic if you’re involved in an accident, however. Here, we’ll look at some car insurance claim tips that can help you navigate the process smoothly.
Car Insurance Claim Tips
If you’re involved in an accident, don’t hesitate to implement these car insurance tips for a well-documented, navigable experience.
- Contact the police directly. Only use 911 if someone has a life threatening injury. Otherwise, call the police station so that you can get a police report.
- Exchange license plate numbers, contact information, and insurance information with other involved parties. Most information should be available on an insurance identification card. Otherwise, get the phone number of the other parties to follow up with more information. Police officers might try to avoid an accident report if the damage appears to be less than $500. Still, insist on an incident report so that the claim doesn’t rely on the other driver’s story.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. You want to file a claim as quickly as possible, before the other driver has time to change stories.
- If the other party is at fault, advise his or her insurance company that you’re pursuing a claim through your carrier and will seek reimbursement for costs your carrier won’t pay.
- Prepare for a call from the other party’s insurance company. They will ask for your version of events, and you want to make sure your story is complete and accurate. Write down exactly what you will tell the carrier ahead of time so that you don’t leave anything out.
- If a dispute arises, you can ask your carrier for a form of arbitration to resolve the dispute. It might take two to six weeks, but you might not have to wait for payment at all. In most cases, the company will pay you the amount it offered immediately and you’ll get the rest when the dispute is resolved in your favor.
These car insurance claim tips might make the difference between your being reimbursed for a claim and being left out in the cold. It might not help your insurance rates, but it will at least make sure you receive the payments to which you’re entitled.