Auto Insurance Claims

If you are unfortunate enough to ever be involved in an auto accident, it's likely you will have to file a claim, especially if your vehicle sustains damage or you and your passengers are hurt.

While no one wants to think about claims, they are a fact of life. Unless you have the convenience of mass transit or live within walking distance of your job, you likely need to drive to and from your job, run errands, and transport children to school and other extracurricular activities.

If your vehicle is damaged in an accident and not drivable until you get it repaired, you will need to initiate a claim with your insurance or more likely, the other driver's insurance company. This might seem daunting but it's really quite simple if you follow some basic instructions and remain calm and patient.

That said, if the accident is serious and there are injuries, you may need to seek legal counsel, especially if you are found at fault.

For more information on how best to solve auto insurance claims, you should read up on how to file a claim as well as what to do if you're having trouble settling a claim at kind of rights you may have when filing a claim. Make sure you also know whether your insurance will raise your premiums if you file a claim.

If you file a claim, be aware of the various types of insurance fraud and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Once you start a claim you can determine the value and cost to repair your vehicle and whether you have to use certain auto parts in repairing it.

Finally, it's good to know whether you will have rental car coverage while your vehicle is being repaired.



AUTO INSURANCE CLAIMS

How do I file claims?
If you have been in an accident and your car needs repair, you will need to make a claim. You should contact your insurance company and the other driver's. If you want to expedite the process you will likely need to send them a copy of the police report if one was filed. You will need to have your vehicle appraised and an estimate will be provided, once you agree to an amount, the insurance company will cut you a check. If you are making a claim with your own insurance company, your claim amount will be minus your deductible, if you have one.

What are my options if I have problems settling a claim?
You should contact your insurance company immediately and voice your protest. Make sure you do your research and check your policy for any arbitration service your insurance company may offer. You may need to employ the help of your state insurance department or have an independent arbitrator hear your case. If you still do not find satisfaction, you may need to hire an attorney as a last resort.

Do I have to use certain auto parts for repairs?
You do not have to use a certain brand of auto parts for your repairs, however your insurance company or state may stipulate that original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts be used or that generic parts be used whenever possible to hold down costs. Some companies may allow you to choose between generic and OEM parts.

How are my cars value and the cost to repair it determined?
You can determine the cost of your vehicle by consulting the National Association of Automobile Dealers or the Kelley Blue Book. You insurance company will use an adjustor and give you an estimate of how much they think it will cost to repair. It is up to you to have an auto repair professional give you an estimate with which to counter the insurance company's numbers.

Do I have rights when filing a claim?
Your policy is a binding legal contract between your insurance company and you and it will define any rights and obligations each of you have. Therefore, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your rights as stated under your policy, you should contact your insurance company or agent.

Does filing a claim raise my premiums?
Insurance policies vary from company to company but in general most insurers increase premiums according to a specified percentage for each chargeable claim.

Does auto insurance cover car rentals after an accident?
You can purchase a special rental car add-on to your current policy which covers car rentals in case your car is ever out for repairs. This add-on typically costs about $1 to $2 per month.