Filing an Auto-Insurance Claim. Things You Need to Know and Do

 Have you purchased auto insurance for your vehicle? 

If the answer is yes, it is within your right to file a claim in the event you have an accident.

To file this claim, it is important you have a legit policy issued by the United States registered insurer

Here are steps to process your claims successfully. Depending on whether you have third-party or comprehensive coverage.

File Claims on Time

Submit Claims on Time If you have a comprehensive policy, file a claim with your own insurer. You have the option of suing the insurance company of the driver who hit your car for any injuries or losses that are not covered by your own policy. To file a claim, get a claims form from your insurance company or send a letter with the details of the accident and the other driver's policy number to the other driver or their insurer.

It is also crucial to transmit witness testimonies to your insurer and to inform them of any independent witnesses. They might be able to assist you if you purchased your coverage through a broker or agent. Make several copies of any papers and correspondence.

Dont waste time reaching out to your insurer and filing your claim. Most insurance comapnies have  mobile apps where you can easily file your claim. Failure to file claim within a states stipulated time can lead to the denial of your auto claim. Usually the deadline for filing auto insurance claim is 30 days. So ensure you file yours ontime.

Your insurer will need the following papers to back up your claims:

  • a completed claims form
  • a police report
  • witness testimony
  • a photo of the totaled(damaged) car.
  •  and any other documents required to back up the claim.

Take Photos

Take photos that captures:

  • the damage  done on your car
  • license plate of your car and that of the culprit
  • the weather condition
  • other factors such as road sign, bad roads etc.
  • the drivers insurance ID cards

Make sure you date stamp the images taken.

N.B Endeavour to  write or note the police officer’s name and badge number. Get a copy of the police report as soon as it is filled and vet to make sure it is accurate. 

Only when a third party vehicle is also involved in the collision is a police record required for a motor vehicle accident claim.

After receiving these documents, the insurance provider will send an engineer to assess the damage, who will then write a report recommending an fair amount that will repair the car once they have agreed a deal with the auto body shop. 

The claimant will be awarded this sum less the policy excess. 

Excess is the amount you have to pay If you decide to make a claim on your policy.  This way, you take a portion of the risk.  

Your policy specifies the amount of the excess.

How does it function? If you suffer an accident, the cost of repairs on your vehicle could be $4000. If your excess was $600, you would pay the first $600 and the insurer would pay the rest.

However, not all policy type  provides the same type and level of excess, and not all excesses apply in the same situations. Different types of excesses may be available from your insurer, and some policies may have more than one applicable excess.

 Although insurance firms also provide excess-free policies, they require additional premium payments.

Private Vehicle Theft: a properly filled out claim form, interim and final police reports, witness reports, original insurance certificates, original driver's licenses for the car in question, ignition and boot keys, last service invoices, purchase invoices, and any other documents pertinent to the claim.

When you have a Third Party cover, make a claim against the other driver and allow the insurer to decide who handles the accident. In order to claim from the other driver, inform your insurer, while the other driver should report the accident to their own insurer.

It is important that you, as the insured or your agent/broker, provide these claims substantiating documents on time to enable the insurance company to process your claims as quick as possible.

Alternatively, you can sue the offending party.

This will require you hiring a lawyer to sue the driver.

Verify that the other party is at fault. Having a police report, contact information of witnesses and photos from the scene of the accident is a plus.

If the settlement to be made is less than $3000, you can approach a small claim court. The advantage is that filing fees are cheap and reasonable. Not only that, you can subpoena witnesses. Make sure you have certified estimates of the expenses and damage you incurred because of the accident.

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