Getting involved in a car accident is stressful enough. But now you're faced with going through the insurance claims process as well. Reporting an accident to an insurance company doesn't have to be complicated. This article provides helpful information on how to report an accident to insurance.
Do I Report to My Own Insurance Company?
It depends on which type of insurance claim you file. There are two types of insurance claims: (1) first party insurance claim and (2) third party insurance claim. For first party insurance claims, you need to report to your own insurance company. For third party insurance claims, you need to report to the insurance company of the other driver who was at fault for the accident.
Reporting a Car Insurance Claim
You should contact the insurance company as soon as you can after the accident. If you're filing a first party insurance claim, call the number on your insurance card or go online to report the accident. If you're filing a third party insurance claim, you should obtain insurance information from the other driver in order to contact his or her insurer. The insurance company may ask for the following information:
- The insured driver's full name
- Policy number
- Start and end date of the insured driver's policy
- Date and time of the accident
- Driver's license and license plate numbers for all drivers
- General description of the accident
The insurance company will investigate your claim by arranging a car inspection and reviewing evidence. Most companies will schedule an appointment to get a vehicle damage estimate. Next, a claims adjuster will determine the amount to pay you for the damages you suffered.
Keep in mind that every insurance company will have its own deadline to report an accident claim. Be sure to file an insurance claim within that time limit in order to avoid any negative consequences or penalties.
Be Prepared: What to Say and What Not to Say
Although you'll need to disclose certain details of the accident and provide accurate information, you're not obligated to tell everything to the insurance company. Here's a list of things to keep in mind when you're reporting the accident to the insurance company:
- Reporting Your Injury: While you should tell the insurance company that an injury exists, do not disclose details about your injuries until after you've seen a doctor. Be careful not to give any self-diagnosis statements.
- Submitting Written Statements: Do not give any recorded or written statements to the insurance company until you are sure about what you're submitting and what the legal effects of those statements are. If you're not sure, talk to a personal injury lawyer in your area.
- Answering Questions: When the insurance company asks you questions, only answer the questions that have been asked. Do not voluntarily give information that hasn't been requested. It is best to consult with an attorney prior to answering any questions.
- Telling the Truth: When you're reporting your car accident, stick to the facts of the accident. Be careful not to make small talk or exaggerate the facts.
- Agreeing to Early Settlement Offers: Often, the insurance company will issue a settlement check early on. Do not accept an early settlement offer, unless you're confident it's the best offer you'll receive. Once you accept the offer and sign a settlement, you cannot go back to obtain more compensation.
What to Expect Next
Once a claims adjuster reviews your case, the insurance company will make a resolution: either to deny your claim or accept your claim by issuing you a settlement check. Before settling your claim, it's highly advisable to consult a personal injury lawyer to make sure you're getting a fair deal.
Have Questions About How to Report an Accident to Insurance? Ask an Attorney
Even if you're not filing a lawsuit to recover car accident damages, you should consider speaking with an experienced car accident attorney in your area. An attorney who specializes in car accident cases can maximize the amount of damages you recover and potentially expedite the insurance claims process.