After a car accident, its normal to feel rattled or anxious about what comes next. After all, your car is a vital part of everyday life and you’re likely to want it replaced as soon as possible so you can get back to normal. Understanding a little more about the process of auto insurance claims is a good way to know what to expect over the coming days and weeks.
The Auto Insurance Claim Process
After you report an accident to the auto insurance company, they will assign an insurance adjuster to your case. This person will oversee investigating the accident and resulting damage to your vehicle. If your vehicle is a total loss, they will decide how much compensation to award you. If you have witnesses to the accident or police statements, the adjuster will review these documents to try and help draw a conclusion. He or she may call you to take an official statement for the auto insurance company’s records as the investigation progresses.
Car Appraised By a Qualified Mechanic
Often, much of the damage done in an accident is internal damage that is hard for the untrained eye to spot. A qualified mechanic can tell if there is serious damage to the car’s structure or vital parts that no longer work properly. Depending on your insurer and their claims process, you may have to take the vehicle in to an approved auto repair shop so they can give an estimate of the total damage and the cost of repairs. Other insurers will ask you to get multiple estimates from local shops and pay you an amount to cover repairs based on these estimates.
Compensation and Deductibles
Once the repair is approved by the auto insurance company, you can then take the vehicle in for the repair work to be completed. If your vehicle is going to be in the shop for an extended time while parts are ordered and repairs are completed, your policy may cover the cost of a rental vehicle during this time. Whether or not you will have to pay anything at this time depends on the deductible amount on your policy. For example, if your deductible is $1000, but repairs come to a total of $2000, you will have to pay the deductible amount. The insurer will pay the remaining $1000.
While you may be nervous about navigating the process, as long as you cooperate with the insurer, it can be handled quickly.