Allstate insurance—known for its tagline you’re in good hands—was founded in 1931 amidst the Great Depression.
Allstate’s first auto insurance policy insured a 1930 Studebaker at $41.60 for the year. The first auto insurance claim was paid when a customer walked into Allstate’s headquarters holding a door handle that had been ripped off by a hopeful car thief.
Today, Allstate has roughly 16 million auto insurance customers across the United States.
Do I need to hire an attorney before filing an insurance claim with Allstate?
Hiring an attorney before filing an auto insurance claim is not required and, in most cases, is not necessary. With that being said, we strongly recommend talking to an attorney before accepting a settlement offer from Allstate (or any other insurance company) if you’re injured in a car accident.
There are at least two reasons you should talk to an attorney before accepting an initial settlement offer:
- The initial offer from an insurance company is usually a lowball offer. Make no mistake about it; insurance companies want to pay as little as possible for car accident claims. In accidents involving injuries, insurance companies typically make a low initial offer in the hopes that you’ll simply accept the offer without realizing you can negotiate. An experienced car accident attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
- Car accident victims usually underestimate their damages. Car accident victims can recover past and future medical expenses that result from the accident. Unfortunately, most people are not good at estimating their future medical expenses. An experienced car accident attorney can calculate the value of your claim based on all of the damages available.
Three steps to file a car insurance claim with Allstate
To receive proper compensation from Allstate, you need to take a couple of steps before you actually file a claim.
Step 1: Call the police
Most states require drivers to call the police following an accident that results in property damage or physical injuries. Regardless of the law, contacting the police after an accident is a good idea if you plan to file an 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 Allstate 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
Step 2: Contact your own insurance agent
Even if someone else was at fault for your car accident, it’s typically a good idea to contact an agent with your insurance company to report the accident. There are three reasons for this:
- Your auto insurance policy may require that you notify your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident (for example, Allstate requires notification of an accident regardless of who’s at fault),
- Your auto insurance policy may provide coverage in the event that the other driver is uninsured or their policy doesn’t cover all of your damages, and
- Your insurance company can help you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company if necessary.
Contrary to popular belief, your insurer can raise your rates even if the accident wasn’t your fault. For this reason, you may choose not to notify your insurer if you’re confident the at-fault driver’s insurance company will take care of your damages, and you’re not required to notify your insurer.
Step 3: File a claim with Allstate
Filing a car insurance claim with Allstate is relatively straightforward, but first, you need to make sure that it’s appropriate to file a claim with Allstate.
There are two types of insurance systems in the United States:
- At-fault insurance systems. In states that have adopted 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 adopted 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 Allstate, you have two options:
- File an Allstate claim online. Allstate allows you to file a claim from the comfort of your own home using its website or mobile app.
- File a claim over the telephone. If you prefer to file a claim with a human being, call the Allstate claims phone number at 1-800-255-7828 for assistance.
Regardless of how you choose to file your claim with Allstate, you’ll need the following information:
- Contact information for anyone involved in the accident
- Vehicle information and insurance information for each vehicle involved
- Photos of vehicle damage
- Location and time of day of the accident
- A copy of the police report
- Names of officers that responded
Filing a bad-faith claim against Allstate
You have certain rights when dealing with insurance companies. If Allstate violates those legal rights, you can file a bad-faith lawsuit against the company.
To establish a bad faith claim, you’ll generally need to prove that:
- Allstate acted unreasonably, and
- Allstate knew that its conduct was unreasonable or the conduct was so reckless that knowledge should be imputed to Allstate.
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
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