Geico—known for its ad campaign featuring a talking Gecko which first appeared in 1999 during the Screen Actors Guild strike that prevented the use of live actors—was founded in 1936 by the husband and wife team of Leo and Lillian Goodwin.
Today, Geico is the second-largest private auto insurer in the United States, insuring more than 28 million vehicles.
Do I need to hire an attorney to file an insurance claim with Geico?
You certainly don’t need to hire an attorney to file an auto insurance claim with Geico. With that being said, it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney before you accept a settlement offer from Geico if you were injured in a car accident.
There are two main reasons why talking to an attorney before accepting a settlement offer makes sense:
- The first offer from an insurance company is typically a lowball offer. In accidents that involve injuries, insurance companies typically expect you to counter their initial offer (unless they offer you the maximum amount that the policy will pay). An attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
- Victims typically underestimate their damages. In most states, you can recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages represent your monetary losses (things like medical expenses and lost wages) and non-economic damages represent your non-monetary losses (things like pain and suffering). What’s more, you can recover past and future damages. Lawyers are much better than most accident victims at accurately calculating the value of a claim based on all of the damages available.
Steps to file an insurance claim with Geico
Ensuring that you receive proper compensation from Geico involves more than just filing a claim with Geico. There are a couple of steps you should take immediately following your car accident.
Call the police
Contacting the police after an accident, even a seemingly minor accident, is an important step if you plan to file a Geico insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
The officer who responds to your car accident will conduct an initial investigation and draft a police report. This police report will likely contain information that can help support your Geico car insurance claim, including:
- The contact and insurance information for anyone involved in the accident
- Detailed observations about the accident, including the position of the vehicles, the length of skid marks, the weather conditions, and the time and location of the accident
- The officer’s opinion as to who was at fault for the accident
- The contact information for any witnesses to the accident
In addition to simply being a good idea, in most states, contacting the police after a car accident is required by law.
Contact your insurance agent
Even if you’re not at fault for your car accident, it’s a good idea to contact an agent with your insurance company to report the accident. There are three main reasons for this:
- Your auto insurance policy may require that you notify your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident,
- You may discover that your auto insurance policy provides coverage in the event that the other driver is uninsured or their policy doesn’t cover all of your damages, and
- Your insurance company may be willing to file your insurance claim with the at-fault driver on your behalf.
If the accident was minor, there were no injuries, and you don’t plan on filing an insurance claim, you might choose not to contact your insurance company (assuming the policy doesn’t require you to do so) in order to avoid any chance of your rates increasing.
File a claim with Geico
Filing a car insurance claim with Geico is relatively straightforward, but first, you need to make sure that it’s appropriate to file a claim with Geico.
Keep in mind that there are two types of insurance systems in the United States:
- At-fault insurance systems. In states that have an at-fault insurance system, the driver who causes the accident is responsible for the resulting damages. In these states, all insurance claims are filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- No-fault insurance systems. In states that have a no-fault insurance system, each driver files a claim with their own insurance company regardless of who’s at fault for the accident.
Once you’ve determined that you should file a car insurance claim with Geico, you have a couple of options:
- File a Geico claim online. Geico allows you to file a claim using its website or mobile app.
- File a claim over the telephone. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a human being. You can file a claim with Geico by calling the Geico claims phone number: (800) 841-3000.
Regardless of how you choose to file your claim, you should be ready to provide the following information:
- Date and time of the accident
- Location of the accident
- Vehicles involved (make, model, license plate)
- Description of the accident
- Description of the damages
- Geico policyholder’s name
- Geico policy number
- Any photographs, police reports, or other evidence of the crash
Filing a bad faith claim against Geico
Insurance contracts have an “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” In plain English, this means that your insurance company is required to deal with you (the “insured”) honestly, fairly, and in good faith so that you can receive the benefits of the insurance contract.
If Geico breaches this implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, you can sue Geico for the tort of bad faith.
To prove that Geico acted in bad faith, you typically need to establish that:
- Geico acted unreasonably, and
- Geico knew that its conduct was unreasonable or the conduct was so reckless that knowledge should be imputed to the insurance company.
Unreasonable actions typically include, but are not limited to:
- Misrepresenting relevant facts or insurance policy provisions
- Imposing requirements that aren’t in the insurance policy
- Offering lower than reasonable settlement amounts to compel the insured to litigate
- Failing to acknowledge and act reasonably and promptly with respect to insurance claims
- Failing to accept or deny a claim within a reasonable period of time after receipt by the insurer of a proof of loss
- Failing to provide explanations for claim denials or settlement offers
- Denying a claim without a reasonable basis (an insurer’s failure to pay a claim is “reasonable” if the validity of the claim is “fairly debatable” after an “adequate investigation”)
- Refusing to pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation using all available information
- Failing to complete an investigation within a reasonable period of time (usually 30 days) after notification of the claim
What to do after you file a claim with Geico
Once you’ve filed your claim, you can track the status of the claim online by visiting Geico’s Access Your Claim page.
Additionally, you can make an appointment to have the damage inspected:
- The inspection typically takes 30 minutes
- If your car isn’t safe to drive, a Geico adjuster will be sent to look at your car
- You don’t have to meet with the Geico adjuster unless you want to
After the damage inspection, you can have your vehicle repaired wherever you want.
Finally, it’s a good idea to visit a doctor following a car accident, even if you think your injury is minor. Sometimes, symptoms for serious injuries don’t appear until days or even weeks after an accident. What’s more, if you’re seeking reimbursement for medical expenses, you’ll need supporting documentation.
Do you still have questions about auto insurance? The following resources may help:
- Can a demand payment letter keep your dispute out of court?
- Dealing with insurance claims adjusters
- Tactics insurance adjusters may use
- Steps to an insurance claim settlement
- Personal property damage in an auto accident
- Maximum medical improvement and your claim
- All about Independent Medical Exams (IMEs)
- Filing a bad faith lawsuit