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Filing Auto Accident Claims: Insiders’ Tips

Accidents happen all the time. And many result in injuries. In fact, the California Highway Patrol reported that California drivers were involved in more than 163,000 injury accidents.

That translates to roughly 19 injury-producing crashes per hour. And those numbers do not even include car crashes that result in property damage only.

Anyone who has ever been in a car accident knows that it can be not only a painful experience, but a stressful one, too. Beyond the potential medical expenditures, those involved have to worry about repair costs and how much insurance will cover.

While it is not always possible to prevent motor vehicle accidents from happening, it is possible to alleviate some of the anxiety following an accident by knowing how to deal with the insurance company. After an accident, the primary concern for many people is getting the medical attention and treatment that they need. Recovering from serious injuries is typically followed by concerns about how to pay medical bills and for damages incurred as a result of the accident. Many are often unnerved about the experience of filing an auto insurance claim, especially if doing so for the first time.

Tips For Dealing With The Insurance Company

To help address some of the concerns people typically have in dealing with insurance companies, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) recently produced an “insiders’ guide” on how to successfully file an auto insurance claim.

Among the list of tips are:

  • Recognize that policy is a legal contract that both you and the insurer are obligated to meet. That means that when you file a claim with your insurance company, there are certain things that you must do and certain things that insurance company must do in return.
  • Report the loss of your vehicle as soon as possible; the insurer cannot begin the claims’ payment process until you do.
  • Do not wait for the other driver to report what happened when an accident is not your fault, as the other driver may not report the accident at all.
  • Document everything; keep a record of every call you make or receive, including to whom you spoke and what was said.
  • Do not provide your social security number or agree to provide a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company.
  • Obtain and deliver your own medical bills and records to the other driver’s insurance company so you can remove your SSN and any other sensitive information from the documents.
  • Never agree to release all claims against the insurance company when you are still receiving treatment from the accident.
  • Don’t just settle for the adjuster, or his or her supervisor. Demand to speak with someone at the company higher up in order to best address your concerns.
  • File a complaint with the state insurance department if you have problems with the insurance company that it refuses to handle internally. Filing a complaint may not resolve your concern, but it will send a message to your insurer, who will likely work with you on a resolution.

While these tips offer helpful advice that can help reduce your anxiety in dealing with your auto insurance company, any time you are unsure of what to do, feeling in over your head or are seriously injured in a car accident, consult with an attorney. An attorney well-versed in California insurance law and experienced in handling car accidents knows how to deal with insurance companies and will fight against them to make sure that you get what you deserve.

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