So you just got in a car accident and need to file a car insurance claim. Car accidents come with a lot of stress: knowing how to navigate this important part of the process will be helpful in the long run, especially if this is your first accident. We’ll walk you through the basic steps of the car insurance claims process so you can know what to expect when it’s time to file. 

What Are Car Insurance Claims?

A car insurance claim is when you ask an insurance company to cover the costs of any damages or medical expenses after a car accident. The process for filing a claim may vary, based on where you live and the type of insurance you have, but all the necessary steps should be similar for the most part.  

Who Should File the Claim? 

Car insurance claims are typically filed by the driver who is at fault—but it’s a good idea to file a claim with your insurance company regardless of who caused the accident. Based on the evidence provided, your insurance company will determine who is at fault. Filing a claim even when you’re not at fault can also serve as a good precautionary measure, in case the other driver is uninsured or if their insurance is invalid. 

If your accident occurs in a state that requires no-fault insurance, it is your responsibility to file a claim with your own insurance company to cover personal medical expenses. Both drivers involved in the accident must make individual claims regardless of who is at fault. The driver who is at fault can still use their insurance to cover damages to the car they hit. 

How to Prepare for the Claims Process

Take a moment to make sure that everyone is ok. You or your passengers might be in a state of shock and may not know how to act at first. Ensure that no one is seriously injured before you start preparing for the claims process. 

Gather Information

It’s important to write down as many details about the accident as you can. Exchange your name and insurance information with the other driver and determine when and where the accident took place. Make an initial assessment of how severe the accident is, so you can describe it to your insurance company. If you can, take a few pictures of the accident to add to your case. 

Call the Police

Notify the police if they haven’t already been called in order to file a police report. Your insurance will likely need a police report when evaluating your claim. 

Access Your Insurance Policy Number

Your insurance policy number will let your insurance company know who you are and what type of policy you have. You can find your policy number on your insurance card. 

Use these tips on what to do after a car accident to stay extra prepared for a tough wreck. 

What Happens After You File Your Car Insurance Claim?

Call your insurance company or file your claim directly on their website or using their app. Be sure to give as many details as possible to support your case. If you’re submitting a claim through the other driver’s insurance company, you can file a third-party claim through their website. Once you’ve submitted your report, you can track the status of your claim online.  

Soon after submitting your claim, you’ll get in contact with a claims adjustor who will review the accident details and determine who is at fault. If you are deemed at-fault, your insurance company will likely increase your premium. You will also need to get an estimate amount for your damage costs so your insurance company can get a sense of how much the repairs to your vehicle will cost. Once the repair cost is determined, your insurance company will issue payment to cover the damages to your vehicle. Once your claim is complete the two insurance companies will negotiate over who is covering what costs, and your claim will be closed. 

Having a good insurance policy will make it easier to go through the car insurance claims process. At The General, we believe that everyone deserves quality coverage and five-star customer service. Get a quote in under two minutes and learn more about car insurance from our blog.