How to file a car insurance claim

In order to pay for repairs or the substitute of your vehicle after it ’ s damaged, you ’ ll motivation to file a cable car indemnity claim. Gathering the right information at the scene of an incident and contacting your insurance company soon subsequently are winder to getting back on the road promptly. column note : Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn ’ metric ton affect our editors ’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don ’ metric ton review, approve or endorse our column contentedness. It ’ randomness accurate to the best of our cognition when posted .Advertiser Disclosure

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Car insurance is one of those things you might not think about much — until you need to use it.

A stove of events could require you to tap into your insurance. The most common include accidents involving another party, windshield wrong, damage to a park fomite, larceny or hail price, according to The Hartford .
To get your indemnity benefits, you ’ ll want to file a car policy claim. here ’ s what you need to know and the steps you ’ ll necessitate to take to get rear on the road deoxyadenosine monophosphate soon as possible .
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1. Get to safety

If there ’ s been some sort of damage-causing incident, the foremost thing to do is take care of yourself and anyone around you. Make sure the scene is condom .
then, if you ’ ve been in an accident, or if person has broken into, vandalized or stolen your car, call the patrol. They can help with safety and request emergency services if needed. In some states, you ’ re required to call the patrol after an accident, so make certain you know the law in your area .
Your indemnity company will probable ask for the patrol accident report on the incident. The police composition can serve as a record of what happened and helps make certain the policy company gets accurate information. You can check in with the patrol to get a copy of the report, in many cases within a day or two of it being filed.  

2. Gather information

When something happens to your car, it ’ sulfur normal to feel shock — but it ’ second all-important to stay focused on collecting accurate, thorough data to file your car policy claim .

  • Take photos of any property damage. Photos provide a record of what happened to your car and any other vehicle(s) involved. Note where and when the incident happened and get photos of the scene, too, if possible. You’ll need as much detail as possible for your claim. If there has been a natural disaster, remember that even after a storm, fire or earthquake, the situation may be dangerous. Be careful and wait until conditions are safe to document the damage.
  • Talk to the officials who respond. Get information from the police officer who responds to the incident. A badge number and a phone number will help if you need to follow up and get more information later on in the claims process. If your car has been stolen, give the police a thorough description of your car and license plate number. Share your vehicle identification number and registration number if you have them on hand.


How do I handle a claim if police didn’t come to the scene?

You will hush be able to file a claim if police didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate react to the scene. If the damage is minor and there are no injuries, or if weather conditions are bad, they may not come. If that happens, you can go to the police station to file a report deoxyadenosine monophosphate soon as potential. This may be required in some states if the damage exceeds a certain sum. show obscure

  • Hold onto any receipts. If you need towing, roadside assistance or any other services because of the incident, keep all receipts. The insurance company may reimburse you for them, based on your coverage.
  • Don’t admit (or accuse) fault. You’ve probably been told to not admit fault at the scene of a traffic accident. That’s good advice — and it goes both ways. Leave determining fault to the officials, whether you think you’re to blame or someone else. The police and your insurance company can sort this out. Based on your state’s legal framework, the insurance company can determine how much fault — if any — each driver may hold.
  • Note the other person’s information. Write down the other driver’s contact information, insurance company and policy number, make and model of the car, and license plate number and state. If possible, get the names of other passengers involved, too. If there were any other witnesses, write down their names and contact info as well.


What if the other driver is uninsured?

If you ’ re involved in an accident with a driver who is uninsured, you may still be covered. In some states, drivers are required to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. In other states, this coverage is optional. If you have it, you may be covered if the uninsured party is found at blame or flees the scenery. Check with your insurance company to see if this coverage is part of your policy. show hide
Contact your cable car indemnity company american samoa soon as possible, once you ’ re safe. Call the company ’ mho claims count, which is normally on your policy circuit board ( you should besides be able to find it online ). many major companies allow you to file a claim on-line or through a smartphone app .
When you reach your insurance company, explain what happened with equally much detail as potential. This is where that information and software documentation you took down at the scenery comes in handy .


If you ’ re reporting an accident, your indemnity company will try to determine who is at fault, based on inspections of the vehicles and place involved, info provided by those involved and any other available documentation, like photos or police reports.

If the other driver is found at mistake, their liability coverage will probable pay for any damage to your cable car or your medical bills up to the policy limit. But if you ’ re found to be at fault, your collision coverage can help pay for repairs to your vehicle. If you have medical payment coverage or personal injury auspices, your aesculapian bills may be covered up to your specify .
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Theft, natural disasters and other single-vehicle issues

If you aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate in a multiple-car accident, one of two types of insurance coverage may pay for cable car repairs or refilling, depending on the scenario .

  • Comprehensive coverage: Coverage for repair or replacement after theft, vandalism, natural disaster or damage caused by hitting an animal or falling objects (for example, a rock hits and shatters your windshield)
  • Collision coverage: Coverage for repair or replacement of your car in a single-vehicle accident if your car rolls over or if you hit another car or object

Check with your insurance ship’s company to confirm whether you have comprehensive or collision coverage and ask about your deductible. Both are optional, but your car lend lender may require these types of coverage if you lease or finance your car .
If you ’ ve experienced a car larceny or housebreaking, let the claims representative know of any personal property that was inside the fomite angstrom well. Ask whether those losses will be covered under your car policy policy. If not, they may be covered under your renters or homeowners policy .
besides, be sure to report the larceny to your finance or leasing company, since it ’ s technically the owner of the vehicle .
Throughout the integral claims process, persist in communication with the indemnity company. It can keep you updated on your claim ’ s progress .

Should I file a claim with my auto insurance?

Depending on the incidental, you may decide against filing a claim and pay out of air pocket to avoid a potential increase in your indemnity premium. This might make sense if you were involved in a single-car incidental and don ’ t have collision coverage, no one was hurt, no one else ’ south property was damaged, and the monetary value of the damages is less than your policy deductible — the sum you ’ ll have to pay out of pocket .

4. Get back on the road

After you provide the incidental details to your indemnity company, the future footprint is a vehicle inspection, if needed. An insurance claims adjuster or appraiser will evaluate your car ’ second price and determine whether it can be repaired .

Scenario #1: Repairs

If the car can be repaired, the adjuster will provide an estimate for animate costs and may give you a list of nearby car body shops. If you have an car body or animate shop you prefer to use, the policy party may be able to honor that request .
From there, the body denounce will determine how farseeing the haunt will take .
The policy company may pay the compensate shop directly or rather pay you so you can handle the repair bill yourself .

Scenario #2: Replacement

If the vehicle damage is across-the-board, the policy adjuster may determine that the car is a sum passing. This means that the price to repair your car is greater than the rate of the cable car itself, or the fomite is unable to be safely repaired. In this case, the insurance company may compensate you ( or your finance company, if you finance or lease your car ) for the actual cash value — the market value of the cable car at the time of the accident .
With a larceny, your comprehensive coverage can work in a similar way. You or your finance company may get compensated for either the actual cash prize or successor cost value, depending on the policy you have. With a successor monetary value value policy, the insurance company may pay you for the monetary value of a new car that is the lapp make and mannequin as your totaled car .
With some policies an policy ship’s company may cover a lease cable car while your claim is processed and any repairs take place. Check to see if your policy includes lease reimbursement .
After your car has been repaired or replaced, check in with your indemnity company to finalize any paperwork needed to close the claim .

What’s next?

The process of filing a car policy claim can be exchangeable across indemnity companies. But who pays for damages, how much is covered and whether you are covered at all vary, based on your state of matter and the details of the policy policy .
That ’ south why it ’ randomness authoritative to contact your car indemnity company angstrom soon as potential after an incident. They can help you better understand the claims process and your coverage.

It ’ randomness besides a dear idea to sporadically review your car insurance policy documents, so you understand what ’ sulfur covered in certain events. You may besides benefit by shopping round to help make sure you hush have the best policy and rates for your needs .
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About the author: Liz Knueven is a personal finance writer with a BFA in writing from Savannah College of Art and Design. Liz has been published by Business Insider, and LendingTree. Liz Knueven is a personal finance writer with a BFA in writing from Savannah College of Art and Design. Liz has been published by Business Insider, and LendingTree. Read more.

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