What would happen if you’re driving home late one night and a deer ran out in front of your car? Even if you were lucky enough to avoid injuries, you have many other things to think about. How exactly will your car get repaired or replaced? How long does it take to get insurance money? How will you get to work in the meantime? Continue reading to learn more about the claims process and how to get back on the road.
What to Do Immediately Following an Accident
If you’re involved in an accident, your first goal is to avoid making a bad situation worse. If possible, move to the side of the road or a parking lot to avoid a second collision or having to deal with the accident right next to traffic.
Next, find out if anyone is hurt and request an ambulance if needed. If not, you still need to call the police to file an accident report.
You also need to notify your insurance company. While you may be able to wait a few days or weeks under your policy, it’s better to call right away because your insurance company may be able to send their own investigator to the accident scene.
How to File an Accident Claim
You also need to check your policy for what you need to do to formally report your claim. You may need to send something in writing rather than just making your initial phone call. Most police reports get the necessary information such as driver info, license plate numbers, and insurance information, but check to see if there’s anything else you need to provide.
This is also a good time to reread your policy. This will help to make sure you know what you need to do and that you aren’t accidentally misled on the phone if the representative makes a mistake or you misunderstand what they’re saying.
Getting a Rental Vehicle
If you drive daily, such as for your commute to work, you’ll probably need a rental vehicle. If you’ve opted into this coverage on your policy, your insurance agent will be able to help you.
Many insurance companies have a contract directly with a rental car company. After you get your agent’s approval, you only need to go pick up the car, sign the paperwork, and pay for any optional upgrades you select.
Getting Your Own Car Repaired or Replaced
Your insurance company should have a list of preapproved body shops that they work with. If you use one of these shops, they’ll work directly with the insurance company to get your repairs approved and pay for. If not, you may need to get a few estimates and then submit them for approval before you begin repairs.
A car is typically considered totaled and eligible for replacement when the cost of repairs is around 70% of the value of the car. In this case, you will receive a check for the value of your car and will usually need to sign what’s left of your car over to the insurance company.
Completing the Process
The claims process may require several weeks or even months of back and forth phone calls or submitting paperwork depending on the severity of the damage. This is why it’s important to work with a reputable insurance agent who will help you complete the process rather than other companies who may look for reasons to deny your claim.
Giuffre Insurance can help you get the right coverage and make sure your valid claims are honored.