Nobody likes dealing with an insurance company, but there are times when it can’t be avoided, especially someone has been involved in a car accident. Following are some tips to help make the process of dealing with an insurer less painful while allowing you to keep your sanity.
All Parties Should Contact Insurance Companies
The individual responsible for the accident needs to report the incident to his or her insurer. However, all parties involved should speak to all insurance companies. The reason for this is the driver who is liable may be reluctant to alert his or her insurer about the accident for fear of an increase in rates. The insurer may not be aware a collision has occurred if the victim doesn’t make this initial contact.
Have All Information Easily Accessible
Insurers need to gather the facts when a claim is filed. The more information that can be provided, the easier it becomes to determine fault and what compensation should be provided.
It’s imperative to get as much information about the other driver as possible. This includes their name, address, insurance company and policy information. Be sure to note the details of their vehicle, including the license plate and registration number. If valid information is not provided by this person, having the additional information can be crucial.
Obtain contact information for all witnesses to the accident and get statements from them if possible. Take photos of the vehicles at the accident scene and any other images that may be important in determining fault. If an insurance company tries to dispute any element of the accident, the photos, statements and more can be used as proof the victim is providing an accurate representation of the incident.
Know Which Battles to Fight
Insurance companies function to make a profit. To accomplish this goal, the insurer might try to deny a claim outright or provide less compensation than a victim deserves. Drivers need to know what to do in this situation.
First, a driver might choose to file a claim with his or her own insurance company if he or she has comprehensive coverage. The driver’s personal policy then covers the damage, and the insurer may choose to go after the other driver to be compensated for the payout.
In certain situations, it might be wise to hire a car accident attorney to ensure the desired compensation is obtained, especially in those situations where the injuries are extensive and recovery will take an extended period of time. Small claims court is an option when nobody has been injured and the only compensation being requested is of a small amount to pay for vehicle repairs and possibly a rental car.
Know the Law
Several states have laws that protect insurance policyholders from unfair practices on the part of the insurer during the claims settlement process. These laws are typically based on the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act, which is a model law put forth by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Contact the state insurance department to learn more about the law in the state where the accident occurred.
Drivers need to be educated when it comes to the claims settlement process. Insurers often take advantage of an individual’s ignorance in an effort to save the company money. Don’t let this happen to you.
Proceed cautiously when dealing with an insurer and know your rights and responsibilities along with the law. Men and women who do so find they typically have their insurance matter resolve in less time and with less hassle.