Filing a Car Insurance Claim

How to File an Auto Insurance Claim in San Diego, CA

Drivers have a clear advantage when filing auto insurance claims: this is a mature industry known for its high level of efficiency, and thus the claims process tends to be streamlined and user-friendly. Although various insurance companies will handle the claims intake process a little differently, certain standards have been in place for years. The following steps should apply for all insured drivers.

Determine the Loss

Any damage or injury caused to a third party is considered a loss. However, the level of coverage may vary according to the policy. It is always a good idea to review coverage when purchasing car insurance in Vista. For example, a driver who only has liability coverage in case of accidents may not be able to file a claim if a tree branch falls on top of his or her Mustang GT convertible or if the car is vandalized. Drivers who have questions about the determination of loss should contact their insurance agents.

Make Timely Claims

The claims process should be initiated as soon as possible. Many insurers have time limits in relation to damages and injuries. The best practice in this regard is to notify the insurance agent or representative as soon as possible. Voice calls are still the preferred method of contact for most drivers, but mobile messaging by means of dedicated smartphone apps is very popular among younger drivers.

Gather the Required Information

In case of an accident, the insurance company will require contact information of all drivers involved along with their license plate and driver’s license numbers. This information can often be obtained from the accident report issued by police officers who respond to the scene. If possible, photographs of the damage should be submitted. The case will be assigned and evaluated by a representative and a claims adjuster if required. In case of injuries, documentation such as medical bills, physical examinations, and sworn statements may be required.

Formalize the Claim

The initial report of the loss needs to be formalized with a signature or confirmation after the validity, available coverage, and financial sense have been determined. The aspects to be determined include repair estimates, coverage limits, and deductible. In a minor accident such as a fender bender, the policy will likely pay for all damages sustained by the other party. Nonetheless, if the vehicle of the insured driver needs $300 worth of bodywork and the deductible is $500, it would not make financial sense to formalize the claim. In this case, the report would not increase the liability of the insured since minor accidents are widely expected to happen.

Get Estimates and Repairs

Once the claim is submitted, the next step is to follow the instructions of the insurance company regarding repairs. Estimates and the cost of parts and service do not necessarily have to be made by adjusters. Auto shop managers can often coordinate with the insurance company. In case of injuries or major damages, drivers may receive checks from the companies insuring other parties in the accident, which is when the decision to retain an attorney can be considered.

In the event you need to file a claim, you’ll want to make sure you have a policy from an insurance agency you can rely on. Reach out to American Tri-Star for online auto insurance quotes. Vista drivers can also call 760-758-1600 for a free quote. We hope to hear from you soon.