When you have been in a car accident or your car has been vandalized, it is important to understand the steps toward filing an auto claim with your insurance company. While filing a claim may seem confusing at first, you will find that your insurance company's claims processor or adjuster will try his best to ensure the claims process is simple and painless.
STEP ONE: Filing a claim
Upon filing a claim, there is a good chance that you may be under emotional and physical stress from the accident. The rule of thumb is to calm down and recall the details of the events prior, during, and after the accident and write them down. If you were able to take photos of the accident, exchange names and phone numbers, or gathered important evidence that may help speed the claims process have them prepared and ready to present.
STEP TWO: Dealing with a claims adjuster
When you purchase insurance, you deal with an insurance underwriter. When filing a claim, you deal with a claims adjuster.
In most cases, your insurance company's claims adjuster would need to physically see the damage you claim firsthand. In addition to a visual and physical inspection, you will be asked to complete a driver's statement form and provide documents that will help support the statements given. These documents may include police reports, notes taken during the accident, and photos taken after the accident.
If there were other parties involved, the claims adjuster would request to meet all parties. Regardless of who was at fault, all involved parties will be asked to go through the same claims procedures.
Your auto claim does not always mean that you were involved in a car accident. If you purchased comprehensive and collision coverage, an auto claim can also be filed when your car has been vandalized or damaged by a natural disaster.
STEP 3: Determining who was at fault and the extent of damage
After the claims adjuster has gathered all pertinent data and met with all parties involved, the decision to determine coverage will come next. Completing the claims process does not always mean that there will be coverage. If you were involved in an accident where you were found at fault, other factors are considered. A claims adjuster would need to verify whether there was an active policy during the accident, proof driver was not under the influence of alcohol beyond acceptable limits (for collision coverage), and the existence of a valid driver's license (for collision coverage).
If the scenario were a two-car collision, your insurance company would work closely with the insurance company of the other party to determine and decide on the party at fault. After reaching a consensus, the insurance company of the party at fault would gather no less than two quotations from two separate certified auto repair shops for repair of damage from the innocent party (or the party not at fault) and from their insured, if there was collision coverage.
If there were bodily injuries reported, the insurance company of the party at fault would be held responsible for medical expenses up to policy limits.
Cost of damage to vehicles exceeding its value would be determined a total loss at which time, in most cases, a cash settlement for the value of the vehicle at total loss will be offered.
FINAL STAGE: Closing a claim
You should feel more at ease when reaching the final stage of the claims process. This is the stage when claims payments are made for covered property damage and medical expenses for injuries. Because some hospitals and clinics lag in their billing processes, insurance companies may entertain additional billings even after a claim has been closed if services rendered were for injuries resulting from the covered accident.
For more information on how to file an auto claim, call Pacifica Insurance Underwriters, Inc. at 234-6267 or visit their office located at Joeten Center in Susupe. You may also visit www.pacificains.com or send an inquiry via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pacifica Insurance Underwriters, Inc. is a general agent for Century Insurance and Tokio Marine Pacific Insurance Limited. (Pacifica Insurance)