Nearest Office:

How Do Car Insurance Claims Work? Everything You Need to Know

How Do Car Insurance Claims Work

After you’ve been injured or had your car damaged in an auto accident, you’ll want to collect compensation from your auto insurance provider.

Whether it’s before or after you pay for your medical and repair expenses, you’ll have to file an auto insurance claim after a car accident, or collision in order to begin the payout process.

If you’re reading this, then you must have questions about the car insurance claims process after a car accident, or collision as a whole. This tell-all guide is here to help you understand when to file car insurance claims, which car insurance company to file them with, how to file, and the bigger picture of the role auto insurance claims play in auto insurance.

The good news is that car insurance claims are one of the primary functions of car insurance, so it is not difficult for a new policyholder to understand.

What is a Car Insurance Claim?

The primary function of a car insurance claim is to notify your car insurance provider that you have been in a car accident, or collision so you can access your coverage benefits.

Whose auto insurance company receives the car insurance claim is determined by which driver was at fault in the car accident -more on the importance of fault will be covered in the next section.

In order for an auto insurance claim to be filed, you will need the names of the drivers involved in the vehicle accident, your car insurance policy number, the other party’s involved car insurance info, car accident details like photos, and a copy of the police report.

From there, the car insurance company will begin an investigation with a professional car insurance adjuster, which will decide if they will accept the car insurance claim. If the car insurance claim is accepted, then the policyholder will receive the benefits that their policies entitle them to. Appeals can also be filed if the auto insurance claim is rejected.

Insurance claims play a role in every type of insurance, like homeowners insurance or business insurance, and they all function the same way.

How Do Car Insurance Claims Work?

With an idea of what auto insurance claims are, let’s walk step by step through the process of filing car insurance claims after a car accident, or collision, and the best practices for doing so.

Naturally, the first step is to notify your car insurance company of the information covered in the previous section. Again, the best practice for documenting the car accident is with pictures. Information you should especially collect is the car insurance claim number you are given and the contact information of the professional car insurance agent or adjuster you spoke to with the initial news of the auto insurance claim after the car accident or collision.

After filing an Auto Insurance Claim, you should do the following:

  • Request the police report of the auto accident - You will need this because your auto insurance provider will ask for the car accident report number. If a car accident report hasn’t been filed, you can file an auto accident report at the local police department.
  • Be contacted by an adjuster - A professional adjuster from your car insurance company will contact you for you to share information regarding the vehicle accident and why your car insurance claim should be accepted. They may also ask you to show them your car or take it to a certain auto shop for documentation. From there, the professional adjuster will determine who is at fault.
  • Receive report from adjuster - The report you receive from the professional adjuster afterward will include an estimate for the total car repairs, which your car insurance company will now take into account when providing payout. You’re almost there!
  • Payment is accepted - All that’s left to do is to sign the release form accepting what your car insurance company offers as the payout for expenses related to the auto accident like car repairs or towing.

What Information Should be Reported to The Car Insurance Company And Adjuster?

In addition to the photo documentation you may have taken at the scene of the car accident, or collision there are other things you must inform your auto insurance company’s professional adjuster about in order to ensure a smoother and efficient payout.

Provide the following information to your professional adjuster:

  • The vehicle on your car insurance policy that is subject to the auto insurance claim
  • The driver
  • Scene of the car accident and time it transpired
  • Auto accident description and type of damage
  • Other drivers’ car insurance and contact information
  • Contact information of others who have seen or were involved in the vehicle accident with or without damage

Why Does Fault Matter When it Comes to Auto Insurance Claims?

It’s a common practice of auto insurance in North America for at-fault drivers to cover the damages they cause to others on the road.

It’s the adjuster’s job to determine who was at fault and which car insurance company has to provide a payout for the damage. Several states have at-fault laws in place to regulate this practice. Some states, however, may divide the fault up between more than one driver if legislation allows it.

Here’s how fault affects car insurance claims and payouts:

  • You are at fault - File a car insurance claim with your car insurance company for a payout for the damages you cause.
  • You are not at fault - You can file an auto insurance claim with the other driver’s car insurance company. You have the option to use your own auto insurance company as well.
  • You are in a no-fault state - You file a car insurance claim and use your own auto insurance to pay for your own damages and injuries.
  • You and the other driver(s) share fault - Damages can be limited with both drivers filing a car insurance claim with their respective auto insurance companies.

When Do You File an Auto Insurance Claim Based on Car Insurance Policy?

Fault isn’t the only major factor in the car insurance claims process. The type of car insurance policy that you have also plays a role in the auto insurance claim process.

If you’re carrying more than your state’s mandatory minimum liability coverage, then you’ll have to decide whether you’ll have to file something like a comprehensive claim or a collision claim.

Here’s how the different types of auto insurance correlate when it comes to filing car insurance claims:

  • Liability coverage - In car insurance, liability insurance is the foremost and basic coverage you carry because it’s often required by law. When a liability claim is filed, it is done with the at-fault driver’s car insurance.
  • Comprehensive coverage - Comprehensive coverage claims are filed when your car is damaged by circumstances other than collision -like criminal or weather damages. Naturally, this is with your own car insurance provider.
  • Collision coverage - You can file a collision claim if you were found to be at fault for an auto accident and want your damages to be covered while your liability coverage pays out. This can be filed with your own car insurance company or the other driver(s) involved. You can also file a collision claim if the fault isn’t clear.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage - If you find yourself in a car accident, or collision with an uninsured driver at fault, you can file a corresponding auto insurance claim in order to receive a payout for the damages they are unable to cover.
  • Personal injury coverage - You can file personal injury claims with your own auto insurance company to receive payouts for your medical bills after a bodily injury in a vehicle accident or collision on the road.

How do Car Insurance Claims Affect Auto Insurance Premiums?

There is a direct relationship between car insurance claims and your monthly premium rates.

A car insurance claim is a notification that you have been in an auto accident and your auto insurance provider’s response to this is to increase your rates anywhere from 12% to 50%, depending on how severe the car accident, or collision and the car insurance claim was.

In fact, a broad auto insurance claims record is something that car insurance companies keep an eye out for when looking at potential car insurance policyholders. Several car insurance claims suggest that you are a high-risk driver to insure because you get into car accidents frequently. The fault also plays a role in the increase in car insurance premiums.

An example would be that a comprehensive claim causes less of a car insurance premium hike than a collision claim would since you weren’t at fault for it. Similarly, if you file a car insurance claim with an at-fault driver’s car insurance company, then your auto insurance premiums will not go up. However, it’s best to avoid car insurance claims altogether if you wish for affordable car insurance premium rates.

How to Find Car Insurance Companies With Affordable Rates After a Vehicle Insurance Claim?

If you’re shopping for car insurance after a car insurance claim, you probably would like to know which auto insurance providers offer the most affordable vehicle insurance policies for drivers with a history of car insurance claims.

Looking at different car insurance companies would be your best bet, as everyone handles auto insurance claims differently.

Shop for the best auto insurance policy by analyzing the following:

  • Car Insurance Policy cost
  • How much car insurance coverage you will receive
  • Car Insurance Deductibles
  • Auto Insurance Claim requirements
  • Customer reviews
  • Car Insurance Agent response time
  • Available discounts

What Does an Auto Insurance Claims Report Look Like?

Every prospective car insurance provider will look at your car insurance claims report to assess how much of a risk you are to insure.

These car insurance claims reports will typically cover the last five to seven years of your driving history. It’s not like a driving record where they look at decades.

The more car insurance claims you have, the higher your car insurance policy premiums are likely to be.

These auto insurance claims reports can also include car insurance claims for different types of insurance like homeowners’ or business insurance coverage, for example.

You are allowed to request a complimentary copy of your car insurance claims report every year from your car insurance company.

Another good way to keep track of your auto insurance claims is to make notes of car insurance claim numbers. This way, you’ll be not only familiar with the number of car insurance claims you have but also the reason the car insurance claim was filed.

How Long Does An Auto Insurance Claims Process Take?

A big drawback is that the car insurance claims process isn’t an over-and-done thing as it can take months to get a payout.

Car insurance payouts usually come after you have paid for damages such as repair costs and medical fees in the form of a reimbursement check cut by your auto insurance company. Car insurance claims are typically paid out 30 days after the initial filing.

The car insurance claim itself can be filed anywhere up to 10 years after the car accident, or collision but auto insurance policyholders typically file car insurance claims within the week the car accident, or collision occurs for a quicker payout.

All in all, the amount of time your auto insurance claim takes to be completed depends on the severity of the car accident, or collision. The more drivers are involved, the longer the car insurance claim process will take.

Can You Negotiate With The Car Insurance Claim Adjuster’s Settlement?

Your car insurance policy has an amount that the auto insurance pays out in the event of a car insurance claim. The job of the car insurance adjuster is to determine how much of that amount they will payout. If you feel the amount they come to isn’t enough, then you may make a counteroffer.

Here’s how you can negotiate with an insufficient car insurance claim adjuster’s settlement:

  • File the initial auto insurance claim - Already, you’re a couple of steps into the car insurance claim process with the damages being submitted, and the payout is requested.
  • The car insurance adjuster contacts you - The car insurance professional adjuster tells you the settlement and await your signature of approval.
  • Make counteroffers - If you’re not happy with the settlement the car insurance adjustor offers, make a counteroffer. You’ll have to provide the reason and evidence that the amount you have in mind would be the ideal payout. Documentation usually helps in this case -like medical bills and auto repair receipts.
  • Come to final settlement - The auto insurance adjuster approves your counteroffer offer thanks to the evidence you provided, and you can now receive your new payout.

What Is The Relationship Between Car Insurance Claim And Auto Insurance Deductible?

By now, you’re familiar with all aspects of filing a car insurance claim. The only thing we have to cover is the role vehicle insurance deductibles play in it.

A car insurance deductible is an amount you agreed to pay in the event of an auto insurance claim. Many car insurance policyholders use their car insurance deductible as an indicator to file a car insurance claim.

If you are faced with damage costs higher than your auto insurance deductible amount, then it would be ideal to file a car insurance claim.

Let’s say that you damage your car in a car accident or collision and the total cost to fix your vehicle is around $350. If your car insurance deductible is $300 or $250, it may be worth it to just cover the damages on your own rather than file an auto insurance claim. At least doing that will also keep your auto insurance premiums constant.

The car insurance claims process is also a math game as you determine whether or not it will truly be worth it.

Looking for Affordable Car Insurance Premium Rates After a Vehicle Insurance Claim? Insurance Navy can help you save some money!

Great car insurance coverage at low rates is possible with Insurance Navy. Call us today at 888-949-6289 to get a free auto insurance quote. You can also apply online via our website and mobile app or drop in at one of our many storefront locations.

Receive a car insurance quote in 2 minutes or less!

Auto Insurance

Motorcycle Insurance

Homeowners Insurance

Renters Insurance