Reporting an accident to insurance is one of the many steps you will have to take after being in an accident. How, and when, to report the accident varies, depending on your state’s laws and your type of coverage. Read on to learn how to report a car accident to the insurance company.
Reporting an Accident to Insurance: When to Report
While the time immediately following an accident can be hectic, you should contact the insurance company as soon as possible. Some insurance companies have time limits on how long you have to file a claim, so it is important to be mindful of these. These time limits vary, depending on the provider.
Additionally, if you have to file a third-party insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance provider, you will also be subject to their time limits. According to FindLaw, you will need the other driver’s insurance information including their name and policy number to file a third-party insurance claim.
How to Report an Accident to Insurance
If you are involved in a car accident, you will need to report it to the insurance provider. You can report an accident to your insurance company with the following steps:
Step One- Determine Your State’s Insurance Laws
Some U.S. states are no-fault, whereas others are not. If you live in a no-fault insurance state, then you will need to report your car accident to your insurance company, regardless of who is at fault. If you do not live in a no-fault insurance state, then you will report an accident to the other driver’s insurance provider if they are at fault.
Step Two- Determine the Type of Insurance You Have
It is also important to consider the type of auto insurance that you have. If you have minimum coverage and you were responsible for the accident, your provider will likely not cover any of your damages. You can still report the accident, but they will only cover the damages that you cause to another driver.
If the other driver was at fault for the accident and you experienced injuries or property damage, then you will contact their insurance company. Many providers, including GEICO, make it easy to report an accident using their mobile app or online form.
Step Three- Gather Important Details
When you call to report the accident, they will likely ask you for certain details. Having this information ahead of time can prepare you to file a claim. Some information that you may need includes:
- The insured driver’s name.
- The insurance policy number.
- Date and time of the accident.
- Police report number if you have one.
- Driver’s license number of everyone involved.
- Details of the accident.
It can also be helpful to collect any details that may be beneficial to the insurance adjuster. This might include things like photographs or videos from the accident, as well as statements from any witnesses.
Step Four- Contact the Insurance Company
While you do want to provide the insurance company with all relevant details when reporting an accident to them, it is best to avoid admitting fault or accepting blame. Without all of the details present, it is not always possible to identify who was at fault. An at-fault accident can lead to higher insurance rates, as well as the potential for a third-party lawsuit. Simply provide the insurance company with a list of facts.
What to Expect After Reporting an Accident to Insurance
You can expect a few things to happen after reporting an accident to insurance:
- The insurance company will create a claims report: This report will include details of the accident that they receive from you or anyone else involved in the accident.
- The insurance company may request additional information: The insurance company may request additional information. This might include a copy of the police report or any evidence you have.
- The insurance company will begin an investigation into the accident: They will assign an insurance adjuster to your account. They may come to your location or wherever the vehicle is stored.
- The insurance company will issue a resolution: After reviewing the available information and completing an inspection, the insurance company will issue a resolution.
A resolution will include a decision to either accept or deny your insurance claim. If the insurance company accepts your claim, they will also specify an amount that they will provide you to cover your damages.
How to Deal With an Increase in Insurance Following Accident
You may notice an increase in your insurance rates following the insurance claim. This may occur, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. This is because having an accident on your record makes insurance companies consider you a higher-risk driver.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to off-set the potential increase in insurance rates:
- Shop around: If your insurance company increases your rates following an accident, it may be time to shop around for better rates.
- Take advantage of discounts: Discounts can be a good way to offset increased rates due to a car accident. Find out if you are eligible for any discounts that you are not currently receiving.
- Take a defensive driver course: Some insurance companies offer a discount in return for policyholders taking a defensive driving course.
- Improve your credit score: A clean driving record is one of the best ways to get affordable insurance rates. With an accident, you may no longer qualify but you can look for other ways to save, like improving your credit score.
If your current insurance provider increases your rates following an accident, you do have options available to shop around and look for a better deal.
Reporting an accident to insurance is important to ensure that you, or the other driver, receives the compensation you need to pay for medical bills or damages. Even though insurance companies are known for increasing rates after a car accident, you can always shop around and find a new provider. Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.
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