The situations that can cause you to file an Atlanta car insurance claim are never pleasant to deal with. The event itself can be stressful enough without having to worry about paperwork for your insurance company – whether it’s for a car theft, a cracked windshield, or an all-out car accident. Everything can be overwhelming to handle all at once. So, here are 9 tips to help you breathe easier when filing a car insurance claim.
Pro tips for filing a car insurance claim.
1. Give the police as much information as you can
Call the police, and when they arrive on the scene, tell them exactly what happened. Even if you think you may have been at fault, remain as neutral as possible. The police and your insurance company can determine fault later. For the police report, just give them the initial, factual information. The more detail the investigating officer places on your report, the better your insurance company may be able to understand the situation for your car insurance claim.
2. Take photos (and possibly video) of the damages
Take as many photos as you can of the accident. Capture the damages done to your car, the other driver’s car, and the position of the vehicles if you can. If possible, also take video of the aftermath. To make sure that you can access the photos and footage from anywhere or just to keep them safe, consider uploading the information to a cloud system – either your cell phone carrier’s, iCloud, or Google Drive. It can help give your insurance agent and any appraisers more of a point of reference for your claim payout.
3. Ask the investigating officer for a copy of the report
After recalling and recording all of the information about the vehicle damage and the accident itself, make sure you get a copy of the police report to show to your insurance company. Some carriers require a copy of the police report to file your claim; some don’t. However, it never hurts to have a copy of the report just in case.
4. Write down the information of any drivers involved
If you were in an accident, take down the information of the other drivers involved, whether it was a one-on-one accident or a pile-up. Remember, the only type of information you need to exchange is:
- First and last names
- Best contact numbers
- License plate numbers
- The make, model, year, and VIN of the vehicles
- The name and phone number of the other drivers’ insurance companies
- Auto insurance policy numbers
However, take care when exchanging information and only give what’s necessary. Some people can use other forms of information to steal your identity. Your insurance company should be able to file your claim only using the information above. However, if they can’t, they’ll ask you or the other driver to provide additional details that will just stay with the insurance company’s records.
5. Write down the information of any witnesses
If there were any witnesses that were willing to stick around when the police showed up, take down their names and numbers as well. They may be able to help your case when filing a claim or if you end up going to court.
6. Try to get the names and badge numbers of the emergency responders on the scene
Ask the police officers and the EMTs if they will give you their badge numbers and names. If you have to refer to someone who was on the scene or who was investigating the incident, it could help you identify the specific person who gave you the original information on the case or your injuries. It could also help your insurance company find any additional information that you could not provide on your own.
7. Write down as many details about the incident as soon as you can after the accident.
Time can do a lot of things – heal, fly by, bring a lot of changes – but it can also play tricks with your memory. So when you have to file a claim to your car insurance, your account of events right after the incident will probably be the truest to form and have the most detail.
So as soon as you get to a computer or a pen and paper, write down everything about the incident exactly as you remember. If you feel so inclined, you could even record yourself retelling the story and time-stamp the footage. In either case, no detail is too small. If your insurance company or a court only wants certain details, you’ll have the very least that they’re asking for. Having an account of the accident can’t hurt when it comes to filing a car insurance claim.
8. Keep track of all the correspondence you have about your claim
Whenever you speak to your insurance company, your lawyer, your car repair service, your rental car service, or anyone else you’ve had to speak to as a result of a car-related incident, take notes. With every interaction, make sure you note the date, the name of the person you spoke with, and their title. Take notes on important information about the conversation and keep it all in one place.
If you’re in an accident, do NOT talk to anyone else about the accident itself besides your lawyer, your insurance company (not the other drivers’), and the police. If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you directly, you can politely decline and ask them to speak with your insurance company or your lawyer.
9. Keep track of any expenses that come about because of the accident.
Find out what type of parts will be used for your repair BEFORE any repairs take place. Your insurance carrier is going to need to know if your vehicle is being repaired using original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts or aftermarket parts so that they can properly compensate you for the repairs. Also, keep track of other expenses that might come up because of the accident.
Navigating the process of making a car insurance claim can seem a little overwhelming. Hopefully, these tips can give you a framework to work from when keeping track of the process. However, when you’re looking for more detailed help, it helps to have an experienced insurance agent on your side.
Our insurance specialists know how to protect you before an incident with the right insurance. We can help you make sure that you have the coverage you need and save you money. Call us today or fill out our online form to make sure you’re not missing out on the best, affordable Atlanta auto insurance coverage you can get.