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Crucial Steps to Filing an Car Insurance Claim

Getting involved even in the slightest of car accidents is one of life's worst moments but accidents are inevitable as long you are a road user. Once in your lifetime, you must get up close and candid with a fellow road user. The following are 7 crucial steps to filing a car insurance claim to help you get over this process as fast as possible.

1. Comprehend your policy

Don't wait until you're involved in an accident to read through your insurance policy. Discuss with your insurer or agent if you have any queries regarding an item not covered before you get involved in an accident.

2. Exchange personal info

In the event of an accident, it's vital to exchange information such as names of driver's involved, phone number, addresses, the phone number of the insurers and the insurance carrier. The insurer's phone numbers can be found on the proof-of-insurance cards that each driver is expected to carry at all times.

3. Identify witnesses

Make sure you also get contact information of the witnesses of the accident in the event their version of the accident would be required.

4. File an accident report immediately

Your next course of action is to file an accident report with your local law enforcement officer and if they're not reachable at that time of need, you can get an accident report at any police department near you, local Department of Motor Vehicles office or website, and the sheriff's offices.

5. Notify your insurance company

Inform your insurer of the accident as soon as you can and they will appoint an insurer adjuster to review the accident report and find out which driver was at fault for the accident. Your insurer or the other driver's insurer can pay for your vehicle's repair or replacement if you aren’t at fault. In case the other driver's insurer covers the cost, you wouldn't need to claim anything from your insurer nor pay any deductible.

6. Do not relieve insurers too soon

You should only relieve your insurer when all damages are settled. For instance, your insurer should handle all claims in the event that the other party's insurer extends an unacceptable settlement and questions the negligence of the policy holder.

7. Factor in the following settlement aspects

- Bodily injuries – you may be legally entitled to get a monetary compensation for injuries caused by the other liable party. Note that some injuries may show after a few days.

- Damages – all reasonable costs of repair to your vehicle should be paid by the insurance company. Once you don't get satisfied, you can get another appraisal from an auto body shop because insurers tend to disagree with what auto body shops have to say.

- Appraisal clause – majority of policies have an appraisal clause that can come into effect when a dispute doesn't seem to be settled agreeably. In case you can't reach an agreement about physical damage claims, you can instigate the appraisal clause whereby your appraiser and the company's appraiser selects an independent mediator to resolve the dispute. Again before you get involved in an accident, go through your policy and look for the appraisal clause and in case of any questions, enquire from your agent or insurance company about it.

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