Steps to Filing a Long Beach Auto Insurance Claim
According to national statistics, you have a one in four chance of being involved in a car
accident in any five-year period. Safe driving and a little luck will hopefully prevent you from
becoming a statistic, but if you do get into an accident you may have to file an insurance claim.
But before you ever find yourself involved in an accident it’s important that you carefully read
and understand your Long Beach auto insurance policy so there will be no surprises when an
accident occurs. Once you’ve been in an accident, you need to know what your insurance policy
requires you to do, whether you are covered for the losses, the amount of your deductible, the
time limit for filing a claim, and how long it will take to process a claim.
Every insurance claim requires some form of proof of vehicle damage before the Long Beach
auto insurance company will make a payment. There are essentially five aspects of proof when
making a claim: what you report to the insurance companies, what the other party reports, a
police report, witnesses, and damage to the vehicle.
Let’s take a closer look at the process from the scene of the accident to the resolution of your
Long Beach auto insurance claim. These are the typical steps you will take when you are
involved in a car accident:
Make sure no one is seriously hurt and needs medical attention. Assuming it’s a minor
accident and there are no serious injuries, the first thing you need to do is exchange as
much information as possible. The short amount of time following an accident will likely
be the only direct interaction you will have with the other party, so now’s the time to
write down the other driver’s name, address, phone number, license plate number,
insurance company, and insurer’s phone number. Be meticulous: Sketch the street
and/or intersection where the accident occurred and the course each driver was taking
when the accident happened. Quick tip: Always keep a pen and notepad in your glove
box so you will be prepared to jot down all of this information.
If possible, get the names and phone numbers of witnesses who will be willing to give an
account of what they saw in case their account of the accident can be helpful during the
claims process with your Long Beach auto insurance agency.
The police will prepare an accident report if they arrive on the scene. If the police are
not called, take the initiative to file an accident report yourself. This documentation can
be a critical piece of evidence when proving your version of events.
Contact your Long Beach auto insurance company as soon as possible to report the
accident and start the claims process. Even if the accident is not your fault, your
insurance company needs to know about the incident so it can advise you how to
proceed, including all of the information that will be needed to support your claim..
If the accident was not your fault, you can have either your insurance company or the
at-fault driver’s insurance company handle the repairs or replacement of your vehicle. If
you use the other party’s insurance company, you will not have a claim on your Long
Beach auto insurance policy and you will not have to pay a deductible.
Prepare yourself for a call from the other driver’s insurance company asking about your
version of events. It’s a good idea to write down exactly what you will say beforehand so
you can be clear and direct and, in the worst case scenario, have a consistent statement
in the unlikely event of a lawsuit.
If the accident is covered under your Long Beach auto insurance policy, the company
will send out an adjuster to assess the damage to your car, evaluate the loss, and
develop an estimate of the cost for repairs. Once your claim is approved, you may be
urged to take your car to a pre-approved auto body shop, but always remember that
you ultimately get to decide which shop to fix your vehicle.
Although a car accident is never a pleasant experience and may not be your fault, as long as no
one is injured the most important person to trust is your Long Beach auto insurance agent. He
or she will look out for your best interests and make sure you receive a fair settlement.
Visit www.KellyWilliamsIns.com or call 562.498.8661 for more information about filing auto