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How To Make A Car Accident Claim And Get Compensation

By Elle

How to make a car accident claim and get compensationA couple of months ago, my husband and I had the unfortunate experience of being in a car accident. The other driver wasn’t paying attention and rear ended us.

Gratefully, we weren’t hurt beyond some bumps, bruises, and a minor cut. To our dismay, though, our car was a total loss. We had to spend the rest of the month figuring out how to file the insurance claim and hunting for a replacement car.

I’m happy to report that we found a great car using the money from the insurance company.

Now that I’ve been through the experience, I’d like to share some tips and steps on reporting an accident with your auto insurance company. I hope this information speeds up the process for you and relieves you of some of the headaches that I had to deal with!

1. Get Information and Evidence

1. Get the other driver’s insurance information. First, check with everyone to make sure they’re OK. Safety is the first priority. After making sure there are no serious injuries, make sure you get the insurance information from the other driver. This includes getting their name, phone number, and address (verify with their license).

My past experience with getting this information has been relatively cooperative. Most people will work with you. Sometimes, though, you’ll get somebody difficult. Don’t admit fault at the scene, and if you’re in doubt over what you should say, then wait until you speak with your insurance company.

2. Take pictures of all the cars involved. In my case, I had a teenager hit my car, but he told the officer a different story. When the court date arrived, I simply showed the judge the photos which clearly supported my case. The young man got a long talk from his father at the courthouse.

If the other drivers are irate about you snapping photos, then wait for the police officer to be present. They are trained to obtain all of the necessary and to give everyone a copy of contact information as well as vehicle information. Vehicle information includes the following:

  • Year, make, and model of the car
  • License Plate Number
  • Insurance Company
  • Insurance Policy Number

3. Check for witnesses. Lastly, depending on the nature of the accident, it may be a good idea to see if you have any witnesses that would speak on your behalf.

2. File a Claim With Your Insurance Company

By now, hopefully you’ve obtained a cheap and affordable auto insurance company. Call them up right away to get started on the claims process. They typically will walk you through the steps. Be prepared to take notes on what they say so that you can reference the conversation later. Depending on your coverage, you may be eligible to use a rental car while the damaged one is assessed or replaced.

Also, insurance companies use adjusters to calculate the cost of repairs and whether or not to declare a vehicle a total loss. While they are coming up with their numbers, you should have a ballpark figure of what your car was worth before the accident to make sure you’re not being shortchanged. Use tools like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds to get a quote.

Most adjusters are honest, so if you can back up your numbers, they can review and possibly adjust their estimate higher. It never hurts to ask for a fair deal.

3. Decide Whether to Replace or Repair Your Car

If the repairs are more than what the car is worth, then you’re looking at a “total loss.” In the case of a total loss, you can either take a check from the insurance company for what your car was worth prior to the accident, or you can get your car back along with a reduced check that can be used towards repairs. Since cars depreciate in value very quickly (especially those that have been in major car accidents), it’s highly recommended that you use this opportunity to upgrade to a new car. This solution is generally the way to go to get the best return on your insurance money.

If the car is not totaled and you can easily repair your car, this is not a bad option to go. Often, you can get the car repaired for less than the check the insurance company gave you. Also, don’t necessarily go to the repair shop that the company recommends since these shops are often much more expensive than local competitors.

I’ve both replaced my car and repaired my car on two different occasions, and I can tell you that replacing the car is much easier and less stressful.

Final Word

Have you been in a car accident recently? How smooth did the claims process go for you? Would you recommend your insurance company? I’d love to hear your comments below!

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

Elle
Elle helps families achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth over at Couple Money. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second. She's paid off $15,000 in debt and counting, and is a contributing blogger at TurboTax's blog.

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  • http://frugalapolis.com Frugalapolis

    How did it end up in court? Did both parties have insurance? How did uninsured motorist coverage come into play or didn’t it? How long did it take from accident to payout? I’m sure a lot went on but you make it sound like its simple, and these things take time.

    My DH was on a motorcycle and a truck ran a stop sign and they collided. The driver was on the phone, no Driver license and of course no insurance since it was a borrowed vehicle. The owner also had no DL or insurance. We loved the service we got from Progressive. They inspected the motorcycle two days after the collision, called it a total loss and paid out blue book value that day, it was towed away to auction the next day. The uninsured motorist coverage and medical payments insurance saved us in this situation. My DH had a fractured humerus and broken foot and after 7 weeks the insurance company just paid us policy limits on the UM coverage, we didn’t even get an attorney – just a couple well written emails and documentation of dr visits.

    • zafar

      any one who want to get accident claim and personal injury claim…..its totally free

      • zafar

        [email protected]
        contact on this id

  • http://couplemoney.com/ Elle

    We didn’t have to go to court for the case. Both of us had insurance, we had only liability on our car and they had full coverage. It took about 3 weeks to receive the total loss check from the insurance company. The most annoying part was the rental car. We had to remind the other driver’s company to extend it. Otherwise the process went through without a hitch.

    Sorry to hear about your accident, but happy that it worked out insurance wise.

  • Mudani

    Did you ever thought about claiming the other person directly rather than claiming through your insurance company? Did you car insurance increase because of this accident, even though, it was not your fault? Thanks for sharing you experience and giving advice!!

  • Upset

    I have a nightmare story for you. My car was hit. Last Thursday morning at 2a while it was parked on the side of the road. I was in bed sleeping but woke up and went outside, called the police, etc. The police have charged the other driver with reckless driving as she fell asleep bbehind the wheel. I lve in a 25 mph speed zone and she hit the car so hard (my Jeep Liberty) that it is probably totaled: she drove up onto my front lawn about 6-7 ft. I called my insurance company (Geico) and they immediately closed the case saying it was clearly her fault (true enough). However they refuse to assist me in going after her insurance company. I have contacted her insurance (Liberty Mutual) who refuses to cover anything and says they can’t determine who’s fault it is and won’t be able to until they conclude their investigation which could take over thirty days.

  • free for all

    No doubt I have found something special here

  • Daniel Scott

    We do not expect any accident but true is that it is increasing every year due to our carelessness. Last year more then 100000 people died by road accident in USA that is very bad. This topic on compensation, and I think as a lawyer that after an accident first we should consult with doctor for medical treatment. After that we registered our complain to police station. After that we contact with insurance company for compensation and we not happy with compensation amount then we must consult with a lawyer.

  • http://www.ukclaimservices.co.uk/ http://www.ukclaimservices.co.

    All compensation claim cases are taken on a no win no fee
    basis by claim solicitors.

  • David

    It’s been more than two months since being rear ended with no physical injury other than my car… The other driver was driving a work vehicle and his Supv showed up and showed me and insurance card that turned out didn’t belong to them. After wasting hours trying to meet with them and get return calls from their company, I decided that I didn’t care if they all lost their jobs.

    Long story short, I finally got the name of their insurance company (Liberty Mutual) and it’s not that they don’t care… they just care VERY LITTLE.

    I’m the only one who makes the attempt to communicate. After they advised that they’d send someone to assess the damage, I has to call them after two weeks since no one had shown up or called.

    I’m self employed and can’t bill out hours that I’m working on this garbage. Should I just send the insurance company a bill for the hours wasted on this?

    I’m open to suggestions…

    Thanks!

  • roni

    I was in an accident in June of 2012. I had the right of way on a 4 lane highway. The other driver was trying to cross the highway and hit me knocking me across the highway right into on coming traffic. It was clearly her fault which she admits to. I was taken to the hospital with neck, shoulder and ankle injuries. I am still fighting with the insurance company for a settlement. It just so happened that we both have the same insurance company. I feel the insurance company is working for her not me. It has been a nightmare. DO NOT USE STATE FARM if you have them switch before you have an accident.

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