You carry insurance specifically for a time like this, right? That’s why it’s surprising to many people that accessing coverage and benefits when they’re needed most can be difficult.
From the moment your car accident occurs, there are some things you can do to help make your insurance claim go smoother. Proper attention to communication with your car insurance company is helpful. Below are some pointers to follow in your insurance claims process. If there’s a possibility that another party may be at fault, please also see Help Your Lawyer Help You to learn how to support a successful case.
1. Calling your insurance company
Make communication with your insurance provider a priority as soon as you get home from the accident. If you’re seriously injured, make sure you seek the medical attention you need, but do not put off contacting your insurance company. Most policies require a signed proof of loss within a certain time limit.
It’s important to have a good understanding of your coverage before calling your agent, so find your insurance documents and review your insurance agreement first. You’ll want to pay particular attention to the "Coverage" and "Exclusion" sections.
Don’t give an official (recorded or written) statement to your insurance company until you’re sure you understand your coverage. Remember you don’t have to permit the insurance company to record your telephone conversation. If you have doubts, consult an insurance dispute attorney at The Babcock Law Firm right away.
Don’t withhold information when you give your statement to your insurer. It’s likely they will conduct their own investigation, and if it’s found that you lied or left out important details it could affect the coverage you are entitled to or even invalidate your policy.
When you speak with your insurance company, take down detailed notes. Don’t trust important details to memory now. It can save you headaches later if you write down specifics during your call like:
2. Taking pictures of the accident scene and your injuries
If you have a camera phone, snap some photos of the accident scene if it’s safe to do so. Be sure your photos show the damage to your car and other vehicles, positions of cars involved, driving conditions, and on-the-scene injuries.
If you later determine you need a car accident lawyer, The Babcock Law Firm will compile evidence with you, and reconstruction of the scene can be more powerful with your photos from the time of the accident.
Continue to document any of your injuries when you get home. Visit a medical care provider to make sure there is a record of the injury you’ve suffered. It’s important to do this right away, to provide evidence of your injuries.
3. Examining other insurance policies you hold
You might be able to make an insurance claim under another policy you hold, so also review any homeowner policies, "umbrella" policies, and coverage available through credit cards.
Depending on the nature of your car accident, you may be able to seek damages against another at-fault party. Talk to an experienced accident lawyer at The Babcock Law Firm to explore this possibility.
4. Keeping track of expenses related to your car insurance claim
A car accident can mean far-reaching expenses for you. Keep track of related expenses from the time of the accident until you receive your settlement from your insurance company or the insurance company of the responsible driver. These may include any financial outlays related to:
a) Pursuing your insurance claim – You may incur expenses for alternate transportation and services such as independent estimation of damages.
b) Recovering from your car accident injuries – There may be expenses aside from your obvious medical care and supplies. If family members must travel to care for you, their expenses should be tracked, too.
It may be helpful to keep a log of expenses in a notebook and attach all receipts. This will let you make notes and ensure that no items are forgotten.
5. Settling your insurance claim
Your insurance company will provide an appraisal of your losses based on the repair or replacement estimate of their estimator or contractor. The amount they estimate may be on the low side, so keep in mind that you do not have to accept it immediately.
Remember that insurance companies are trying to offer you the very least amount of compensation they can get away with. Even if you are facing financial difficulties resulting from your car accident and feel pressured to accept a premature, inadequate settlement, do not sign any releases or waivers without first talking to your car accident lawyer at The Babcock Law Firm.
Always read the fine print when you are accepting payment from the insurance company. If your check says “final payment”, make sure you are actually ready for that to be your final compensation from your accident.A car accident can be devastating, and the hassles that come up with insurance companies can serve to compound your difficulties. If you feel you are not being treated fairly or if you think another driver may have been at fault, submit your car accident details to our Denver office online and an attorney will provide you with a free screening of your case.