Auto accidents can happen in a number of different circumstances. For example, the driver may hit a deer, accidentally back into another vehicle or change lanes without checking to make sure the coast is clear. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the accident, everyone involved will be wondering whether insurance will cover the damage and how the process is going to work.
If you have been involved in an automobile accident, follow the steps below to process the claim as quickly and smoothly as possible.
1. Be safe.
The first thing you need to do after a car accident is think about safety. Move your vehicle out of the road and turn it off. Turn on your hazard lights, use flares or set up cones to alert other drivers to the situation. Check all people involved in the accident for injuries and call an ambulance if necessary.
Even if the accident is minor, call the police to make a report. This report will be helpful later in the insurance claims process.
2. Collect information and contact your insurance agent.
After you are sure everyone is safe, collect information from everyone involved in the accident. Don’t forget to write down license plate number, driver’s license numbers, vehicle descriptions and insurance information. Call your insurance agent to inform him or her of the accident so you can begin the process of filing a claim.
3. Get repair estimates.
Before scheduling repair of your vehicle, you will need to get repair estimates from several different body shops to find the best deal. Some insurance companies have preferred or pre-approved body shops that they work with on a regular basis. If you get an estimate from one of these establishments, you may not need an insurance adjuster to approve the work.
If no preapproved establishments are available, you can get estimates from other body shops in the area. Make sure the body shop you choose has a good reputation for providing quality service.
4. Find out whether your vehicle will be repaired or replaced.
After you submit the repair estimate to your insurance company, the company will decide whether to approve the repairs or “total” the vehicle. In general, the vehicle will be totaled if the cost to repair it is 70 percent or more of the vehicle’s current value. In cases where the vehicle is totaled, you will receive a check for the vehicle’s value minus your deductible.
5. Getting the vehicle repaired.
If your vehicle isn’t total, the insurance adjuster and the body shop may negotiate the cost of repairs. Once they have agreed to a cost and repair plan, the plan will be approved, and your car will be repaired.
When you are involved in a car accident, you will spend a lot of time working with your insurance company. For this reason, having the right insurance coverage to begin with is essential. If you are interested in reviewing your insurance coverage needs, please contact Skeele Insurance Agency to speak with an experienced agent today.