How Auto Insurance Claims Work

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    Beginning the Claim

    • At the beginning of the claim, you have to initiate the process. This typically occurs by calling a call center at your insurance company. Most major insurance companies have a toll-free number that you can call to report an accident. During this stage of the process, you give your side of the story and then the insurance company starts the claim. You should write down your claim number and any other pertinent information that is given to you by the call center representative.

    Dealing With the Car

    • When you are in a wreck, it can do varying amounts of damage to your vehicle. Depending on how much damage is done to your vehicle, you may need to pursue different types of repairs. For example, if it is a small wreck, you might only need to take your car to a repair shop. If the car is not drivable, you may need to have it towed. When you talk to the insurance adjuster, they should give you an indication of what you should do with the car.

    Estimates

    • At this point of the claims process, the damage to your car must be evaluated. This can be done in one of a few different ways. For instance, if the insurance company wants you to take it to a particular repair shop, you might simply get an estimate from the company. In other cases, the adjuster may want to see the damage to your car so that he can come up with a value for how much the damage will cost to repair.

    Settling the Auto Claim

    • Besides the damage to your car, the claim can also include money for medical bills and pain and suffering. The company may reimburse you for rental car expenses and any other expenses incurred as the result of the wreck. Once all of the costs are added up, the adjuster will typically call you to offer you a settlement. If you are satisfied with the settlement, you can accept it and get a check almost immediately. If you are not satisfied, you can dispute the settlement to try to get a larger amount.

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