Step 1- Contact law enforcement if you are on a public road. The police will not respond to an accident in a parking lot unless someone is injured.
Step 2- Collect personal information from everyone involved. This includes passengers and witnesses. Name, drivers license number, address, and how they were involved.
Step 3- Collect insurance information regardless of who was at fault. If the other party is uncooperative ask the police to get this for you.
Step 4-Write down information on the vehicle. Year, make, model, color, license, plate, and damaged area.
Step 5- Write down an address or intersection.
Step 6- Write down what happened in as much detail as possible. Speed, weather, other cars, traffic light status, etc.
Step 7- Take a lot of pictures! Take photos of the vehicles involved, the drivers and passengers afterward, the scene, license plates, etc.
Step 8- Call in your claim ASAP. If you are injured have a family member file the claim for you. In most cases you will want to call in the claim to the party who was determined to be at fault first. All auto insurance ID cards have a 1-800 claim number listed. Calling the company directly is recommended since you can give your statement during the initial call. You may call the agent during business hours. If you are at fault or the other driver left the scene call your insurance company.
Step 9-An adjuster will be assigned to you by the company. Make your vehicle available to the adjuster by giving them the location of the vehicle.
a. If the vehicle is at your home make sure you are there with the keys.
b. If the vehicle was taken to a repair shop help coordinate the appointment with your repair representative. Do not allow the repair shop to start repairs before the adjuster has completed his inspection!
c. Approved Repair Center- You have the choice of where to have your vehicle repaired. Many insurance companies have approved repair facilities and will recommend you use them. This can improve your claims experience.
Step 10- Claim Check: You will receive a claim check minus your deductible. Your claim check traditionally is mailed to you or the repair facility. The check may have your lienholder listed. If so call your bank and ask them if you can bring it in or send it off to be endorsed. It is important to let your agent know if you have refinanced your car or paid it off.
Do not cash a check issued by a field adjuster! Hold that check until you have a final total for repairs and the amount is adequate to cover the complete loss.
Step 11-Deductible: The deductible is the portion of the repairs you are responsible for. The adjuster will determine which deductible applies to your claim. You will pay your deductible directly to the repair facility.
Step 12- Total Loss: A vehicle is considered a total loss if the amount of repairs is 75% or more of the current value of the vehicle. You have 2 choices:
a. Accept payment for total loss.
b. Keep your vehicle and accept the 75% loss amount less your deductible. You will be responsible for any additional cost to repair the vehicle and will have to prove road worthiness after the repairs are completed. The vehicle will receive from the state a salvage title and will no longer be eligible for full coverage on your insurance policy.