Tips for Auto Claims: Car Accident Claim Tips
What should you do in case you get into an Car Accident Claim? It’s easy to move your car to the side, check everyone is okay, and then call 911. Take pictures of the cars, exchange information, and then call your insurance company. What should you do if the insurance company calls?
Contacting your insurance Car Accident Claim company
Many times, a claims adjuster will be the first to call you. This person is employed by your insurance company. It could be an employee of your insurance company called a “staff adjuster”, or it could be an independent adjuster. Independent adjusters work for private companies, but are hired by insurance companies. They’ll ask you a series questions. They generally follow this order:
- You are where is your car?
- Is your car damaged?
- What happened in the accident?
- Who was hurt?
They will want to know the exact location of your car in order to ensure it does not have storage charges from a garage. If it is, they’ll ask you to call the shop to authorize the vehicle to go. Most accident insurance companies will move your car to one their preferred shops. You should give your insurance company permission to tow your car to a yard. Let them move it. This is not a battle you need to fight.
They will then ask you if your car is damaged and the location of the damage. Do not use auto terminology — simply tell them “driver’s side,” “passenger’s side,” the “front,” or “back” of your car. If it is badly damaged, please let them know. You can also let them know if there is only minor damage.
If they ask about the accident, they might ask for a recorded confession. Your statement is not recorded by them. While your policy will require that you cooperate with the insurance company, there are no policies that require you give a recorded statement. Answer their questions, but do not give a recorded statement. Tell them everything you know. If you still feel shaken, tell the questioner that you need a day to relax and then speak to them.
If anyone has been hurt, you should inform them. You might be eligible for medical payments (medpay) which will pay all bills incurred due to injuries. They will also need to find out if anyone was injured. You can tell them everything you know. And if you’re not sure if anyone else was hurt, you can also tell them.
Repairing Your Car
The insurance company will recommend their preferred shop. They have arrangements made with shops to do some of their work (such photographing your vehicle) for the insurance company. It is not necessary to visit any of their shops. You can visit any shop that you like. There are many shops that are highly recommended by some insurance companies. There are also some really bad shops. A friend, trusted contact or family member should be able to recommend a shop. After deciding where the car should be fixed, tell your insurance company. The adjuster and shop will agree on a price. This is the price the insurance company agrees that the shop accepts. This is the deductible that you will be charged.
Original Equipment (from Manufacturer) refers to the parts that your car was made with. Insurance companies may provide estimates using pricing for aftermarket parts, sometimes called “crash” or non-OEM. It is still a matter of dispute whether aftermarket parts are as reliable and as good as OEM parts. The majority of body shops will agree that these parts are fine. If they recommend OEM parts, or if your vehicle is very expensive, your insurer should cover the cost for repairs using OEM parts. The basic principles behind insurance are designed to help you get back to where you were before you lost it. Replacements of “like quality and kind” have been the norm for many years.
An insurance company might also request used parts. These are parts that can easily be purchased from an auto recycler from an older car that has been damaged. These parts can be replaced if your car has been damaged. The best choice between OEM parts and used parts from an automotive recycler is the former.
You might also be eligible to rent a vehicle. For tips on how to properly insure a rental car, see UP’s Fall 2005 newsletter. Your policy will pay a maximum of $20 to $25 per day for the rental vehicle. Additional charges will be payable by you. Find the best deal on a rental car by asking around. You do not need to choose the rental car company recommended by the insurer.
Resolving your Injury Claim
In the event that you are hurt in an accident, you can recover reasonable medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and reasonable compensation. This amount cannot be calculated using any formula, regardless of what you read on the internet. Each case is unique. Experience is required to assess the value of your case. This is why you might want to seek out an attorney.
If you choose to take it on your own, you still have two years from date of accident to file a claim or settle your case. This time cannot be extended by the adjuster, even if they agree to it. You must file a lawsuit or settle your case.
Some adjusters may tell you that your computer has a value. Listen to them. Their software, Colossus, can not determine the worth of a case. It is based on the inputs of the users. Because you don’t know their inputs, the outcome is not reliable. You should not accept this amount.
Others will “drop draft” you. You will receive a check usually for $500 and a waiver. They will ask you to sign the release, deposit the check, then mail it back. You should not accept these. You will not be paid the full amount if an adjuster drops your draft. When they attempt to settle a claim for less than its value, adjusters will drop draft. You should not receive a check from your insurance company if you are looking for legal representation.
Insurance adjusters may use different strategies to help you after an accident. Many of these tactics are designed to save money for the insurance company. Even though the good ones might make you think that they are your friend, the insurance adjuster will not be your friend. Although these tips won’t cover all circumstances, they will help you to give the adjuster a good idea of the system. That knowledge alone can help you file your claim.