by Ed Sneneh
Auto Insurance Company Rep. Chicago, Illinois
Car Insurance Claims Expert, Chicago, Illinois
The personal auto policy contains sets of duties and responsibilities of both the insurance companies and the insured person. Both parties have to fulfill their duties and responsibilities if they expect to get what they agreed on (customers pay premiums, company pays claims.) Personal auto policies specify several duties and responsibilities for the insured person to perform when there is an accident including:
Duties to notify insurance company of any car accident or potential auto claim. The insured person is responsible to get as much information as available on any auto loss or accident including but not limited to where, when, what time, name of people involved or injured, details about witnesses, etc. The notification process could be done by calling the company's claims department or the agent of the insured person or, preferably, both. It is always necessary to call your company and report any accidents or losses, regardless of how minor they are. Many people mistakenly think that minor accidents need not to be reported, if it is not their fault. Always remember that fault is not decided by how 'you think or feel' about the accident, and courts will be the final judge in case the other party decides to sue you later. If the claim department of your company has slow response time, use fax to communicate with them and keep records of all of your communications along with fax transmittals.
Cooperating with your auto insurance company to investigate the claim. Your policy contains language that makes it mandatory on your behalf to communicate with your car insurance company to investigate the claim or lawsuits. You are not doing them a favor if you respond to their inquires in timely manner. Cooperating with your car insurance company includes activities such as:
- Providing any legal documents / papers in timely manner for inspection by your insurance company. This includes titles, maintenance records, bill of sale, medical bills, etc.
- Allow the insurance company to submit you as often as necessary to physical or medical examination by physician appointed by the insurance company.
- Giving statements under oath.
- Giving authorization to release medical information from third parties (hospitals and doctors), as well as mechanical information about the auto involved from repair shops.
- Providing details of any losses you claim, in writing.
- Provide a police report for any hit and run claims, especially if a claim is to be made under the 'Uninsured Motorists' section of the policy.
Filing car insurance claim for damaged auto: If the insured person is seeking to file claim for their damaged auto then they need to first take all measures to protect the damaged vehicle and equipment from further losses. A damaged vehicle needs to be towed to a safe place, and be secured to prevent further damage, after any loss. Normally the insurance company will pay reasonable fees for doing that.
If the vehicle is stolen a police report needs to be filed immediately. Same thing applies if and when the vehicle is found or recovered.
The insured person must allow company representative, adjusters and appraisers to inspect the vehicle before any repair. An unauthorized and undocumented repair may lead denying auto insurance claims.
Insured people cannot admit fault for car accidents. Your auto policy contains language that does not allow you to admit fault for any accident or loss. Normally insurance companies themselves will decide who is responsible and who is not for any accident. Deciding legal liability for auto crashes and auto losses is the responsibility of insurance companies (the people who will end up paying).