How car insurance companies investigate accident claims
When you file the claim to your car insurance companies then the claim go through the process that leads to the settlement. The correct way that your car insurance companies handle your accident claim will depend on the following:
- The nature of the accident
- Own policies of your companies
- Whether the car accident involve property damage, injuries or both.
Some steps are common to most claim investigation. These are:
Immediately after the claim is filed
When you file your claim then your insurance company will assign you the claim adjuster to your case. The claim adjuster will review your policy to make sure whether you are covered or not. The adjuster will also contact you to ask more information about the accident. During the investigation process the adjuster may:
- Ask you to send the copy of the police report for review
- Make contact to other driver
- Talk to the listed witness
- Visit the accident scene
- Inspect your car for the damages
- Click pictures of your car
- Talk to your medical providers for the information regarding to your injury expenses.
Medical repair and vehicle repair
Your insurance companies will cover the cost of your injuries and the repairs until the fault is determined and after that they will negotiate with the other driver insurance company to decide who will pay in end. The process of the initial payment is indemnification which means the coverage for the damages and losses. If other driver is legally defaulter then your insurance company will ask for the payment from his insurance company through the process of the subrogation.
There are many options when it comes to getting the repair of your vehicle:
- Using an approved body shop- your claim adjuster will suggest you to take your car to one of your car insurance company approved body shops.
- Getting the quote- the claim adjuster will ask you to go to the several shops of your choice or obtain the quotes to compare.
- Choosing your own repair shop- you can also get your vehicle repaired at any location which you choose. But you have to pay the difference between the shop estimate and the amount which is determined by your insurance company is a fair price.
If your claim includes the medical expenses from the injuries from the accident then your claim adjuster will see the evidence of your medical bills. The adjuster will ask you to sign the document which grants permission for your car insurance company to access the medical records. Always remember that before signing the document you can talk to your personal injury attorney whether signing this document is good or not. Because sometimes when they access your records the information in your medical history may also lower your claim.
Review your side of the story
Make sure to provide as much as information you can so that you can get the best possible settlement. The claim adjuster will request for the recollection of the events. You have to submit the following to your car insurance company:
- Your policy number which can be found on your insurance card
- Date of the accident
- The location of the accident
- The name and information of the party who is involved
- Name of the police department who is involved and the police report number if it is applicable
Determination of the fault
The role of the insurance adjuster is to determine the fault. In many states the driver does not need to be 0% or 100% defaulter. The claim adjuster will decide that you are a partial defaulter. For instance if you are 60% responsible and other driver is 40% responsible then your insurance company will pay 60% of the settlement whereas the other driver insurance company will pay the remaining 40%. In some cases the full amount is paid by the car insurance company of the driver who is having the majority of the fault. Talk to your insurance company agent if you have any query.
Review of claims
At the time of reviewing claims the claim adjuster will look the evidence such as:
- Medical records
- Evidence of the property damage
- Proof of the lost wags
Role of the social media
The claim adjuster will investigate their claimant. At the time of reviewing your claim history the car insurance company will like to look you up online. They may go to the Facebook, twitter or any other social media sites which make them sure that you are not lying to them. For instance, if you are claiming for the car damage for an accident on Monday morning and you upload a photo of you with your car intact on Tuesday then your insurance company will recognize you as a fraud. The car insurance companies are having the special investigation unit (SIU) which investigates the suspected fraud. You can protect yourself on social media by:
- Set your privacy setting in which only the approve people can look your pictures
- Try to avoid posting the pictures or anything related to your accident online
Options to resolve the claim disputes
If you are not happy with your settlement offers then you have some more options:
- Take your claim to your claim adjustor supervisor
- Hire the attorney
- Small claim court
After the accident understand the claim process
If you are involved in car accident and you need to file the insurance claim then firstly you have to understand how the claim process work. In case you are involved in the car accident which involved injuries and property damage then you must file the claim to your insurance company. Here the information will help to guide you through the process of claim settlement.
Report the accident to your agent or insurance company
If you are involved in car accident which involved injuries or property damage then first thing you must do is to inform to your agent or your insurance company. If you don’t report about your accident within the reasonable time then your insurance company will not have to honor your claim.
Have facts in hand
The agent or any representative of your insurance company will surely ask you some basic information. Make sure to give more information to them when you call them:
- Insurance policy number and the name of the registered owner
- Make, model, registration and the license plate number of the car
- If driver is not the registered owner then give the name of the driver and license number
- The date, time and location of the accident
- The number of passenger who is involve if there is any
- Your description of the accident
Read your policy
It is always a good idea to read your policy thoroughly. It will provide some details regarding your insurance coverage. You may get to know your rights and responsibilities under the contract. If you are not having the copy then asks about the copy from your agent or insurance company. If you know the details of your coverage and your responsibilities then the claim process will be easier.
What happens when you file your claim with your insurance company?
The insurance company will assign you the claim adjuster when your claim is reported. In many cases the claim adjuster wants to meet you personally while in some case they handle it over the phone call. You are required to complete the claim form which is also known as the proof of loss form. How much claim is covered by your insurance company it will be determined by the claim adjuster. Claim adjuster will explain you the coverage which is provided in your policy and will guide you through the entire claim process.
How does insurance company assess your fault?
In case of the car accident someone is always determined to be a defaulter whether fully or partially. The insurance company will determine the degree of fault which is going to be assigning to each driver. The fault determination rule and the insurance act which is made under the insurance act will determine the fault of the car accident. The fault determination rules are the regulations which are in the place which help the insurance companies to provide customers with the prompt claim handling treatment. After reporting about an accident to your insurance company the company will investigate the circumstances of the accident and after that they make the fault decision which is based on the fault determination rules.
How does at fault accident affect you?
A driver can be anywhere between 0% to 100% at default. If driver is at fault more than 0% then they will have at fault accident in their insurance records. Remember that your premium will go up at the of renewal when you are found more than 25% at fault for the accident. To confirm about your rates how it will be affected then talk to your agent or your insurance company representative. Remember that if you are lending your car to someone then you are also lending them your insurance. The person to whom you lent your car and they met in an accident and found to be more than 25% at fault then that accident will go in your insurance record which will surely increase your premium.
If you have the comprehensive coverage
If you are having the comprehensive insurance policy then you can claim from your own insurance company but there is a chance that you can lose your no claim bonus if the insurance company doesn’t recover the amount from the other driver insurance company. You can also claim form other driver insurance company for the injuries and losses which is not covered in your own policy which is known as uninsured losses. Try to keep your losses to the minimum and keep the evidence of them. If you hire another car it must be similar to your own car. To make the claim get the form from your insurance company and fill it and ask to give the details of the accident and other driver policy number from the other driver insurance company. If you can send the witness statement then send it to your insurance company. Just make sure to keep all the documents as well as letters.
What type of damages you can collect?
If you are making claim only for the property damage then there are some different type of damages which you can collect which are:
- The vehicle damage
- Personal property damage. The compensation for the items such as computer which is in the car and get damaged in the accident
- Rental car- many insurance company will reimburse you for the rental car at the time when you need when your vehicle is being repaired
- Out of pocket expenses- which mean if you hire a taxi to get to the home from the accident scene or from the police station.