Millions of pounds are paid every year by insurance providers for accidents, stolen vehicles, vandalism, and many other situations. If you discover that your circumstances require you to file a claim on your car insurance policy for the first time, you might not know exactly what to do to begin the process. We can help you to understand how to get it started and file a claim.
Initiating Your Claim
Get in contact with your insurance provider as soon as you possibly can. Many insurance companies offer a helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If your provider offers this service, this should be the very first number that you call after an accident or discovering damage to or theft of your car. Write everything down – make note of all of the details that you can remember and take photos if possible. This is what you will base the claim on your policy on. When you speak with an insurance agent or the person on the aforementioned helpline, make sure to ask what you are expected to do and what evidence they will require regarding the accident or damage. Be sure to give a full and completely accurate story when you talk to your insurance provider. If you change the story at a later date, it can make your claim appear questionable and the company might even doubt your recounting of the situation.
If the situation involves illegal activity – such as vandalism, theft of your car, or theft of items from it – it is important that you talk to the police right away. Don’t move or touch anything until you are told that you can do so by the authorities. The police will give you an incident number, which you will need to provide to your insurance company before they can process any claim that you file for the damage.
After Your Claim is Made
When you have initiated contact with your insurance company about the accident, theft, or damage, be sure that you keep all of the documents, receipts, and quotes associated with the situation. Put these items somewhere secure, so that you do not lose them and you can get to them when you need to do so. Also make sure that you provide your insurance company and the police with contact information so that they can get in touch with you easily. Keep a record of communications with your insurance company. Many agents will give you a reference number and their name each time you speak with them. If you do not receive a reference number, at least make note of the name of the person that you spoke with and a summary of what you spoke about.
Don’t give in to temptation to have your car repaired at just any shop while you are waiting for the claim that you made to be processed. Most insurance providers have particular garages and repairmen that they have a working relationship with and will be much more likely to pay for repairs that are performed by them. Until the insurance company agrees to pay for your car’s repairs, those repairs are going to be your responsibility as far as payment goes. For this reason, it is important to have confirmation that your insurance provider will pay for the repairs before you have them done. Otherwise, you might end up with an expensive repair bill that you will have to pay for out of pocket.
When you are looking at policies, before your purchase, consider what might happen if you have to file a claim. If you are looking at a cheap car insurance policy, it is worth it to do a bit of research into what they will pay for and whether they have a history of dodging their way out of claims. You want to make sure that damage from accidents or a stolen vehicle will be covered before these situations actually occur.