Insurance, by definition, is meant to help you in your time of need.
Unfortunately, dealing with a car insurance company isn’t always the easiest thing in the world.
Auto insurance companies can be notoriously difficult to deal with; despite their friendly, syrupy commercials, these entities exist to make money, not to help you pay for medical treatment or to get a new car. However, with constant vigilance, you can come away from the process with a resolution that both makes sense and financially compensates you for any injuries that you sustained.
Here are some steps for dealing successfully with your car insurance company.
One of the most important things is calling the insurance company right away after an accident.
Many people will delay in making this phone call (and really, who can blame them?), but it truly is the most important thing to do after an accident. For people who have not suffered an injury, it’s wise to call as soon as you get home. Like, as soon as you walk in the door.
For those with injuries, it's smart to call after you get medical attention.
When you make the call, be careful not to say anything that can potentially be used against you, as insurance adjusters have a habit of twisting people’s words and hanging them on their testimony later.
Take specific notes as to how the conversation went, who you spoke to, their title, and what was said. You have certain rights in this situation, and contacting an attorney is a smart move prior to saying anything. He or she can let you know if certain topics are off-bounds or what would be relayed better through a lawyer.
It's important that you are honest with the insurance company, because not telling the truth will just hurt you in the long run and damage your chances of a potential settlement. Take pictures at the scene and note all damage. Even if you have to do so with a camera phone, it is better than having no visual record.
Keep a post-accident journal as well for your records. This will help to keep the facts straight when questions start flying later in the claims process. It will also help to build an established record for both the insurance company and the court, if necessary.
For most people, the insurance process is a complicated one. You likely have one or more policies that could potentially apply to this situation and you could also have other warranties that might help pay for the damage. See if your umbrella package will cover all or part of your claim. Exhaust all available options so that you get the best possible deal.
If you want to positively settle your claim, then you will need good notes on all of your expenses. This includes cost estimates, rental car costs, and every other cost associated with the damage. An expense sheet like this one can help you keep track of everything. When you have all of this, you will be able to start the settlement process.
The insurance company will send out investigators and adjusters. They will conduct interviews. You may have to stay on top of them in order to get your claim settled appropriately. If you are diligent in your approach, though, the process can be a positive one.
An attorney can help you through this process faster than you could manage it on your own. If you haven’t retained a lawyer yet, consider checking out the Enjuris law firm directory for help.