8 Worst Car Insurance Claim Mistakes to Avoid
- Not reading policy
- Delaying contacting insurance
- Poor records
- Not cooperating with insurance
- Discarding parts
- Not calling police
- Lying about being okay
- Unnecessary claim
- Finding the best rates
Making a car insurance claim doesn’t need to be complicated, but it’s important to avoid mistakes like filing unnecessary claims, not cooperating with your insurer, and not reading your policy in detail.
Some mistakes can get your claim thrown out entirely. With most of them, the consequences won’t be so severe. But they can draw out the claims process and you might not get the outcome you hoped for.
To help you along your quest for a smooth claim and payout, car insurance comparison shopping app Jerry has compiled some of the worst car insurance claim mistakes that people tend to make—so that you don’t make them, too.
Not reading your policy
If you want to feel confident about your coverage, you need to know exactly what your car insurance does and does not cover.
Almost every state has specific liability insurance coverage minimums that you will have to purchase.
But if you want to enjoy full protection, you’ll need to upgrade by adding comprehensive insurance and collision coverage. You can further tailor your policy with specialized options, like classic car coverage.
If you find that the wording on your policy is difficult to understand, you’re not alone.
Luckily, Jerry’s here to answer your questions and provide advice on the best coverage options. As your life changes, your insurance changes, and Jerry is ready to make those adjustments for you.
Waiting to notify your insurance company
Contacting your insurance provider right away in the event of an incident improves your chances of securing a favorable outcome with your claim.
You’re not required to contact your insurance company at the scene, but doing so as soon as possible is always a good idea. If you wait too long to reach out, your insurance company may doubt the severity of the damages.
Try to remain on the scene until you reach out to your provider. When you call to make your claim, your insurance representative can tell you what information you should collect. It will be easier for your insurer to adjust your claim when the evidence is still fresh.
Not keeping good records
If you don’t keep adequate records of your claim, your insurance company may not be able to process it. The more proof that you can provide to support your claim, the better.
Your insurance policy will outline the essential documentation that you need to make a claim. Depending on the nature of it, you might be asked to provide additional information, as well.
Most insurance providers will let you upload your records through their app when you make a claim—but be sure to keep copies for yourself.
You’ll need to take down the names, contact details, and insurance information of anybody else involved in the accident. You’ll also have to take photos of the scene and the damage to help your insurance company better piece together what happened.
Try to keep a record of any correspondence with your insurance provider regarding your claim, too.
Key Takeaway Documentation is key, so collect it and keep it to refer back to.
Not cooperating with your insurance company
If you don’t cooperate with your insurance company, they could deny your claim altogether. Be warned that the claims process can take a while—sometimes weeks. Nonetheless, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open and remain polite and responsive during this time.
Ignoring your insurer’s calls means they might not be able to get the details they need to follow through on your claim. The more information you can provide, the more likely it is that you will enjoy a favorable outcome.
If a few weeks have passed since you last heard from your adjuster, take the initiative and reach out to follow up. At least this way, you’ll get a better idea of where you stand.
Throwing away damaged parts
Try to keep as many damaged parts as possible following an accident.
If your car or property was damaged after an accident, it’s understandable if you’re tempted to throw them away. But the insurance company can use the damaged parts to substantiate your story, and it can look a bit suspicious if you toss them.
Sometimes it can be hard to collect everything after an accident. If wayward parts are scattered on a busy road, you certainly don’t want to be venturing out to gather them. In this case, try to photograph them before you leave the scene.
Key Takeaway Throwing out any property that was damaged by accident could undermine your claim.
Not calling the police when necessary
If you need to contact the police about an accident, make it the first thing you do. You’re obligated to call the police right away if somebody has been injured in an accident—even if the injuries seem minor. State laws will vary, but you should also call the police if the property damage appears to be around $1,000 or higher.
Once your vehicle is safely secured, you can start documenting the accident for your claim. Your insurance provider will probably ask you to submit a copy of the police report along with your claim.
Saying you’re fine when you aren’t
If you aren’t feeling 100% after an accident, let your insurance provider know.
Honesty is the best policy if your insurance adjuster gives you a call after your accident to ask how you’re doing. It’s not uncommon for injury symptoms to start showing up days after an accident.
Rather than talking about your specific injuries, simply describe your symptoms. This leaves you with more flexibility to adjust your statement later if you discover new injuries or your injuries don’t heal properly.
Filing a claim when you don’t need to
There are times when it may not be worth it to file a claim, even if the cost of repairing the damage is slightly higher than your deductible limit. Your insurance company will outline your claim deductible in your policy, so make sure you understand it.
Most insurance companies will increase your premiums after you file a claim. Some companies will forgive your first claim, but you should consider whether filing is worth it if the damage is minimal.
Key Takeaway Your insurance premiums could increase after you file a claim.
How to find the best insurance rates after making a claim
If you’ve just made a claim, it’s a good time to shop around for car insurance. Your premiums may increase with your current insurer, and there’s a good chance you’ll find a better deal elsewhere.
If you’ve ever filled out insurance forms, then you know how miserable comparing quotes can be. You probably didn’t know all the answers.
And when you finished, you certainly weren’t inspired to do it again and again to make sure you’re getting the best price. That’s the story of how people end up paying too much for insurance.
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