Even if you have never had an accident, knowing how to report a claim can save you a lot of trouble and hassle.
When to File a Claim
- If your car has been in an accident, whether or not there were injuries or other parties.
- If your car has been stolen.
- If your car has been vandalized.
- If your car has been damaged by weather or a fire unrelated to an accident.
It goes without saying that if the accident has disabled one or more cars and if there are injuries, then the police and EMS should be called. The police can direct traffic around the accident, take an accident report and witness accounts, and get the disabled vehicles removed. Do not let anyone pressure you into not filing a police report!
Information to Provide
When you call your insurance company, you’ll need to provide the following information.
- Your name and your policy number.
- Start date and expiration date of your policy.
- Date and time of incident.
- In in an accident with other drivers, supply the driver’s license number and license plate numbers of the other vehicles involved.
- The insurance information of the other parties involved.
- Names and contact information for all parties – drivers, passengers, and any witnesses.
- Photographs of your vehicle and the other drivers vehicle
What Happens Next
After you contact your insurance company, you’ll be assigned a claim adjuster. You’ll meet and discuss what is and isn’t covered, any injuries claimed, and the condition of your vehicle. Florida is a no-fault state, so your PIP (Personal Injury Protection) will handle your injuries. You might also want to consider optional coverage such as uninsured/underinsured motorist and/or a medical payments policy to cover the sometimes huge difference. Your claim will be processed, and you will eventually have a settlement.
If You Are Injured
Sometimes injuries can take time to show up, even if you felt fine at the scene of the accident and declined medical attention. If you are having pain or discomfort, numbness, swelling, changes in vision, or experiencing dizziness, it is important to see a doctor or go to the ER right away. You should inform your insurance company of your injuries, even have someone photograph them if they are visible, and make all medical records available to your insurance company along with a copy of the police report. You will need to document your treatment as well, with correspondence, medical bills, co-payments, travel expenses, and time off work.
Your Insurance Picture
After reading this, we don’t blame you for being a little nervous about your coverage. People depend on their vehicles, and injuries can be very difficult and expensive to handle. Talk to an independent agent about moving beyond the basic policy and into something that will protect you better. Even if you don’t see it coming, an auto insurance claim can leave you out of pocket with deductibles and coverage limits. Make sure that your insurance is equal to the task of protecting you and your assets!