Auto Insurance Claims Process: Damage To My Car

Posted on Sep 20, 2019
Auto Insurance Claims Process_ Damage To My Car

Most people only rarely need to file insurance claims, and therefore, aren’t that knowledgeable in how to file first-party auto insurance claims. Understanding the claims process for first-party claims can help make sure you have all your ducks lined up for a more successful claims process out of the gate.

There are a few key terms that might help you understand the claims process better:

  • Party of the first part. Upon purchasing your auto insurance, you became “party of the first part.” This means that when you submit claims to your insurance company, they are first-party claims. 
  • Party of the second part. This refers to the insurance provider.
  • Third-party. If someone else causes the crash you’re involved in, they are known as the “third party.” 
  • Third-party claim. When you file a claim against the third party, which caused the accident, with their insurance company, that is known as a third party claim.

Now that you understand the terminology, it is time to move on to the claims process. In this section, we’re only discussing first-party insurance claims.

Property Damage Claims

In order to file a claim for damage to your own vehicle, you must have collision and/or comprehensive insurance. This coverage pays for repairs to your vehicle in the following types of scenarios:

  • Collison with another vehicle or a fixed object, such as a pole
  • Vandals damage your car
  • Hail damages your vehicle
  • A tree limb falls onto your car
  • A shopping cart puts a dent in your car
  • A rogue golf ball lands on your windshield
  • You hit a deer while driving

There is a deductible for your collision insurance. This is the amount of money you’re expected to contribute toward the cost of repairs after an accident. It is the insurance company’s method of ensuring that you do your part to avoid unnecessary accidents and damage to your vehicle. You choose the deductible amount.

However, policies with lower deductibles cost more each month while policies with higher deductibles cost less. It’s the insurance company’s way of rewarding you for sharing a greater portion of the risk.

When the other driver causes the accident, you may find it easier to work with your own insurance company to make a claim so you can go ahead and get the repairs you need rather than waiting on the other company to respond. Your insurance company will then go after the insurance company of the other driver.

Other types of claims you may need to file in the aftermath of an accident include: 

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
  • Med-Pay
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist

Filing a First-Party Insurance Claim

The process isn’t all that complicated. Here are the basic steps:

1) Call your insurance company after an accident as soon as you are safely able to. Let them know about the accident and provide specific details they may ask about date, time, location, and circumstances. You will likely need to file two claims if there are injuries and property damage related to the accident. 

2)  Know you will be assigned an adjuster. Be organized when talking with your adjuster. Have documents, police reports, copies of your policy, and contact information about others at the scene. Write out notes of the accident and any treatments you received, repair estimates, etc. Also, make note of any symptoms, side effects, missed work, etc. that may affect your claim.

3) Avoid talking to adjusters when you are on pain medications, under large amounts of stress, overly tired, or experiencing pain.

4) Be precise when describing the accident, injuries, and any other details relevant to the investigation and your property damage and injuries resulting from the accident.

5) Keep an accident file so your information is all in one convenient location and you can access it quickly and easily if you need to confirm information in follow-up conversations with the insurance company.

6) Send a letter to the insurance company confirming the meeting with your adjuster to help move the claims process along.

Otterstedt Insurance Agency is Here to Help You Through Process

You’re not in this alone. Contact us today by calling  201-227-1800 or completing our online form if you need help to file your first-party claims.

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