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Filing Auto Insurance Claims 101
After the first few terrifying seconds of a car accident, you need to address the practicalities of filing with your auto insurer. Some may not carry insurance, but most of us on the road do. But just because you have insurance doesnat make you a claim expert. Many of us have insurance but donat understand all the ins and outs of making a claim. If this sounds like you, then youave come to the right place. This article will answer those little questions youave always had about filing auto insurance claims.
The specific steps youall need to take will be different, depending on what kind of claim youare filing. There are accident claims, vandalism claims, and theft claims. All will require different paperwork. A phone call to your agent will explain to you all that is needed for a particular claim. When you fill out the paperwork, always keep a copy for yourself along with any receipts for expenses incurred due to the accident. If the insurance company determines that youare not at fault, you can be reimbursed by the other partyas insurance.
Sometimes, itas not necessary to file a claim. Sometimes it might even be in your best interest not to. Just because you have insurance doesnat mean everything will be covered. Maintenance issues like flat tires arenat covered anyway, and if the repair costs less than your deductible thereas no need to tell the insurance company. It will only drive up your premiums. Report damage at your own discretion!
Youall need to have access to certain information when you file your claim. At the time of any accident you should call law enforcement, and then an officer will visit the scene of the accident and file an official report. Your second call should be to your insurance company. They will generally want copies of your license and vehicle registration, a filled out claim form, a copy of the police report, and copies of any bills resulting from the accident.
The processing time on insurance claims varies. The majority are processed within a week, but it could take longer than that depending on circumstances. To keep customers happy and to take the stress out of the process, good insurance companies will try to get through with your claim as quickly as possible. But there isnat any rule about the maximum amount of time a claim could take.
Do I have to use my insurance company's preferred provider for a damage estimate? No, any body shop can process your damage estimate. The benefit to using a preferred provider is that your estimate will be at no cost to you, and your damage informaton will be forwarded to directly to your insurance company.
You can take your car to the shop any time after you begin filing your claim. You donat need to wait very long. Your car can be in the shop the day of an accident as long as youave already made a claim. Getting your car fixed by one of your insuranceas preferred providers will usually guarantee that your car will be ready sooner, which is always a good thing. When you leave your car at the shop, you never know how long it will take to order and install the necessary replacement parts!
When you're car has been in an accident or damaged in some way, it's usually in your best interest to file a claim. Take the time to complete all the steps to gain the most benefit. Keep your frustration and costs low, and get back in your car faster.
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