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Having even a teeny-tiny car accident can be one of life's least enjoyable moments. However, accidents happen, and sooner or later, we all have the experience of meeting one of our fellow road travelers up close and personal and having to file a car insurance claim. Using the following seven steps to filing your claim will help you get over this speed bump as smoothly as possible.
If you are involved in an accident, get the other driver's name, address, phone number, insurance carrier, and insurer's phone number. Be prepared to give the same information about yourself to the other driver. You can find insurers' telephone numbers on the proof-of-insurance cards that should be carried on your person when operating a motor vehicle.
Ask witnesses to the accident for their names and phone numbers in case their account of the accident is needed.
Step 4: File an accident report
Contact local law enforcement officers to have an accident report prepared. If law enforcement is not reachable, accident reports and detailed instructions are available at all police departments, sheriff's offices, your local Department of Motor Vehicles office, and on your local Department of Motor Vehicles' web site.
Contact your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. An auto insurance adjuster will review the accident report to determine who caused the accident. If the accident was not your fault, you can have either your insurance company or the at-fault driver's insurance company handle the repair or replacement of your vehicle. If you use the other driver's company, you will not have a claim on your automobile policy and you will not have to pay a deductible.
Do not relieve your insurance company of its responsibility until the damages are settled to your satisfaction. For example, have your insurance company handle the claim if the other party's insurance company questions its policyholder's negligence or offers an unacceptable settlement.
And that is it. While filing a claim is certainly no fun, following these seven steps will make the process almost as easy as getting free quotes and purchasing your car insurance.