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First Steps to File an Auto Insurance Claim

When you’re involved in an accident, it’s easy to misplace information and forget to acquire necessary information. Even if everyone’s remains unharmed and only your vehicle is damaged, it is possible to forget something. Overlooked steps and incomplete information can adversely impact the auto insurance claim process, causing delays and even delaying approval. Rather than encounter these mishaps, take a few precautionary steps to ensure that filing your auto insurance claims remain as easy as possible.

Have your checklist. Many insurance companies provide policyholders with accident checklists which include the items and information you should have before an accident and collect after an accident. If you don’t have a checklist, make your own.

You should have:

  • Your driver’s license
  • Insurance Policy ID card
  • Pen & Paper – or phone to save the other party’s information
  • Emergency flares or cones

If possible, you should get these details from the other party:

  • Driver Information
  • Driver’s Name
  • Driver’s license number
  • Names of any passengers
  • Phone Number
  • Address
  • License plate number
  • Make and model of vehicle
  • Auto Policy Information
  • Name of insurance company
  • Name of policyholder
  • Insurance policy number
  • Insurance company or agent phone number

If you’re in an accident or your vehicle is damaged, the first thing you should do is check your wellbeing and the wellbeing of those involved. It may sound silly but these tips are easy to forget if things get hectic.

1. Stop. Breathe. Look around. 2. Check your surroundings and then check to see how everyone else is doing. 3. If anyone is injured, call 9-1-1 immediately. 4. If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location, out of the way of traffic.

Once you know that everyone’s fine, then you can begin your mini-investigation.

5. Provide your details and begin the exchange process with the other party. Have your checklist handy to make sure you get all the details. You can even write the information on your checklist. Take note of:

  • The location of the accident
  • Time, day and weather conditions at the time of the accident
  • Specific actions that caused the accident
  • Witness information
  • Damages to your vehicle and property
  • Damages to the other party’s vehicle or property

Do your due diligence to capture the accident details and the other party’s information. However, do so in a manner that keeps you safe. Don’t argue with the other party and don’t accept fault, even if you feel guilty. Capture the details and allow your insurance carrier to handle the specifics.

6. Call the police to file an accident report, if you haven’t call emergency services thus far. 7. Then, call your insurance carrier to report your claim. The claims agent will capture your information and initiate the claim. Be sure to note your claims reference number.