I got into an accident. How do I go about filing a claim with my insurance?

This is my first accident and my first time making a claim. Where do I start and what can I expect?

Answer
“Don’t worry too much! Even the best drivers can get into a crash; that’s why you pay for car insurance.
At the scene of the accident, there are a few things you need to do.
First, make sure everyone involved is okay, then call the police and a tow company to clear vehicles out of the road.
Once it’s time to file the claim with your insurance, you’ll need some key data about the crash. Here are some things to collect at the scene:
  • Names, contact info, insurance, and vehicle information of everyone involved
  • Location, time, and weather conditions
  • Photos of scene and vehicles
  • Information of any officers who responded
  • Copy of police report (may take some time to process)
Be sure to ask your insurance adjuster what is covered under your policy. Start by knowing how much your collision deductible is. If the total cost of repairs is $2,500 and your deductible is $500, the insurance will pay $2,000 and you pay the deductible out of pocket.
The next step is to get your car fixed or replaced. Your insurance company will usually send out an adjuster to assess vehicle damages and determine who was at fault. They will also determine an estimate for repair and labor costs.
When it comes time for your insurance to pay out, they can either pay you and let you handle the bill or send the check to the body shop directly. If your vehicle is totaled and you have both comprehensive and collision coverage, your insurance will pay you the actual cash value (ACV) for your vehicle, which you can put towards a new vehicle.
If you’re vehicle was not totalled, keep in mind that filing a claim will increase your insurance rates. If you find your new rate higher than you’d like, try using the Jerry app to help you compare rates from the top providers and get the best deals delivered to your phone in minutes. And the best part–it’s free.”
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Rachel Juillerat
Answered on Aug 26, 2021
Rachel Juillerat has her Master's in Publishing & Writing from Emerson College. You can view her work in the Independent, Cupid's Pulse, and the Penmen Review. She has worked in personal finance for five years before transitioning to insurance. She lives in Boston, where she spends her time exploring small New England towns, learning new skills, and napping through her cat's zoomies.
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