What Happens when I file an Auto Insurance Claim?
Posted on: 11Feb,2016
Even when it is minor in nature, being involved in an auto accident can be an emotionally stressful experience and although filing your insurance claim may seem equally as stressful, it can also be intimidating and unpleasant. This is especially true when you have never had to go through the filing process before. However, you can relieve a lot of the emotions, intimidation, stress, and unpleasantness by knowing what you can expect the first time you have to file an auto insurance claim.
Before You File, consider the Variables Involved
There are a lot of questions that an individual has running through his or her mind when they have been in an accident and have to file that first insurance claim. This includes questions such as:
• What if the accident was my fault?
• What if the accident wasn’t my fault?
• Will my premium rates increase?
• How much will my rates increase?
• Am I going to get cancelled?
Granted, these questions are warranted, especially when you are filing your very first auto insurance claim. However, the truth of the matter is that there is no simple answer as this can oftentimes be an extremely complex process. Every individual auto accident is analyzed by utilizing a number of different variables including:
• how many tickets for moving violations that are on your record
• make, model, and year of your vehicle
• the number of claims you have filed in the past
• whether it’s your fault or not
• your age and gender
• your driving history
Your insurer will typically determine the outcome of your insurance claim based on which of the following elements apply in your situation:
• Cancellation and non-renewal – despite not cancelling you in some scenarios, over time, your driving record may get smudged with moving violations and a number of claims. In this case, your insurance company may decide that you are not a candidate for renewal and cancel you before your renewal becomes due.
• Not your fault – if this is your very first accident, if your driving history is clean (no citations for moving violations and/or no prior claims filed with your insurer), and the accident was not your fault, there is a good chance your premium rates will not increase.
• Your fault and bodily injuries result – if someone is injured in an auto accident that was your fault, you are going to lose any good driver discount you may have had and could see an increase in your premium rate of up to 25%.
• Your fault and property damage results – if there was only property damage resulting from an auto accident you caused, there is a good possibility that you won’t lose your good driver discount (if you had one to begin with). However, there is a good possibility that your premium rate is going to increase.
Establishing and Initiating the Claim
For all intents and purposes, most of the major auto insurance companies today have implemented measures that have made their claims processes a lot easier. Despite the fact that you are still able to do this over the phone by calling the toll-free number they provide, you now have the advantage of being able to do everything online from the comfort of home. You will have to set up an online account in order to do so and some may even ask you to provide your Social Security number. From that point on, the system will walk you through the entire process.
Filing by telephone requires calling the toll-free phone number that is provided by your insurer whenever you need to file a claim. In this scenario, you will talk with a live company representative who will guide you through the entire claims process and ask you a number of questions during the conversation. The benefit here is that some individuals are still reluctant about divulging their personal information over the internet. So you have the privacy option, plus there is more than one venue for handling your claim. Basically, it’s a win-win situation for everyone who needs to file an auto insurance claim.
Keep in mind that no two insurance companies are alike. So you want to do a little bit of research about the claims filing process with your insurer before the need arises. That way, you’ll be better prepared.