Accidents sometimes happen and, if you are a careful driver, often in situations you least expect. Auto insurance exists to protect you against unexpected conditions, and filing a claim helps you to get your life back to normal.

What is a Car Insurance Claim?
A claim is the report of the accident to your insurance company so that you can receive money for the damages. The insurance company may pay for your repairs, the cost of medical expenses, and damages to other people’s property depending on the type of insurance you have purchased. Know what your policy covers before you have a situation where you need to make a claim. This helps you set aside money for those items not covered by your insurance.

Coverage Determines Payout
Carrying first-party coverage is a good idea because your insurance company will not be able to pay for the accident even if you are not at fault. Without first-party insurance, you will then need to file third-party insurance with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to receive payout. This puts you in a weak position to get compensation from the other driver. If you have only liability insurance and you have an accident, the insurance company will not pay for repairs. You should also file a claim if you had any injuries. Many health insurance policies will not cover car accident injuries unless the car insurance has denied your claim. Even if you do not have injury coverage, you should file the claim so you can receive an insurance denial and obtain money from your health insurance plan.

How to File an Auto Insurance Claim
If you are involved in an accident with other vehicles, get the contact information of any other parties involved in the collision, a description of damages, and a summary of what happened in the accident. Filing a police report prior to filing the claim is useful. Most insurance companies do not require police reports, but the report will have all the information you will need to file a claim. The police will also send the report about the accident to the department of motor vehicles (DMV) so that you don’t have to inform this agency. Filing the police report should be free, and your insurance company can obtain a copy from the police department.

Some insurance companies handle claims through agencies. If you are working with insurance agency, call or visit the agency’s office to report the accident. Other insurance companies have a separate claims department you can reach by phone or online. Filing a claim should be easy with an initial phone call where the insurance adjusters will discuss the details of the accident with you and answer any questions that you may have about the process.

What Happens When a Claim is Filed?
An insurance company will assign an adjuster or adjusters to the claim. There may be different types of adjusters who review various factors of the accident such as a liability adjuster who will determine who is at fault or a damage adjuster who will look at the vehicle for repair costs. There is sometimes a bodily injury adjuster if you have injuries from the accident. If the accident is your fault, then your insurance will pay for the damage to the other party. Your insurance company, if you are not at fault for the accident, will pursue the at-fault party’s insurance for the claim.