Having a car accident is no fun. Even if you are the most careful driver, accidents can still happen and you have to sort out the consequences. You and any of your passengers may be injured and your car may be damaged. The other vehicle or vehicles may be damaged as well, so inevitably an insurance claim is involved. How do you start an insurance claim after an accident?
At the Car Accident Scene
The first priority after any car accident is to attend to any injuries. If these are serious, whoever has been injured, call an ambulance. You will then need to share information with the other driver or drivers.
You will need to exchange the following:
- insurance policy number and insurance company’s phone number;
- names, addresses and phone numbers.
It is best to also take as many notes as you can. Obviously, this depends on how badly you were injured during the crash. Take a note of the make, model and license plate number of the other vehicle(s) as well as how many passengers were involved and what was damaged and how the accident happened. If you can, take some photos with your phone or camera if you have one with you. If there were any other witnesses, get their contact details and collect witness statements so you can give these to your insurance company or attorney later if you file a claim or one is filed against you.
You may also need to contact the police, especially if the damage to any of the vehicles is severe, or if there was a specific road hazard that may have caused the accident or if someone was injured. Depending on where the accident happened and how it happened, you may need to file a report for the police.
After the Auto Accident
You will need to contact your insurance company who will tell you exactly what information is needed and the documents required for a car insurance claim.
The first step is normally to get your damaged vehicle inspected by an auto-repair company to obtain a quote for the repair of your vehicle assuming that it can be repaired. You may need to get more than one quote to have a realistic figure for the claim. Your insurance company may even suggest a suitable company to use. You'll then need to send a report of this quote to the insurance company's adjuster through a demand letter.
The next step is usually made by the insurance company’s adjuster. The adjuster examines the documentation you have available like the accident report and the police report as well as any witness statements, photos and quote from the repair company. He or she will then determine who was at fault and come up with a figure as an estimate of the cost of the repair.
Insurance Coverage and Personal Injury Claims
What you can expect to claim depends on your policy but may include payment even if you were to blame for the accident. It may also include things like towing your car away from the accident site and use of a rental car while your car is being repaired.
Insurance companies can be very difficult to deal with. If you want to start a personal injury claim, you should contact a licensed personal injury attorney in your area.