If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s important to contact your insurance provider to notify them and start the claims process. This claim can help you pay for the repairs of any damages to your vehicle. However, many people avoid the process, fearing that it’ll be too complicated, they’ll make a mistake, and/or that their premiums will increase. Fortunately, opening a car insurance claim is much easier than you might realize. Let’s explore how through a series of important steps, plus details on how to file multiple claims.
Five Key Steps
Police Report and Obtaining Personal Info
A police report isn’t required to file a claim unless the collision has resulted in damages over $2000 or someone has sustained injuries. Even if damages are minor, it’s important to collect the other driver’s name, contact information, insurance provider details and policy number, as well as the make and plate number of their vehicle.
You should also get the name and contact details of any passengers and collect photos and witness statements at the scene to use as evidence. Document as much as you can. This will be important when dealing with your insurance provider and, possibly, a lawyer.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Broker/Company
Delaying this step could affect the outcome and also result in increased insurance premiums, so it’s recommended that you file it within seven days of the accident.
If this is not done within the time limits as outlined in your policy or by your province/territory, the insurance company might not honour the claim. In Ontario, you have up to one year to file a claim and in Quebec up to three years, but some policies have 90-day limits, so don’t wait.
Collect and Organize Evidence (Legally)
If you’ve properly documented the accident, this step will be easy. Simply collect the evidence and paperwork required by the insurance company. This will comprise of all the details regarding the accident, including any pictures you have taken, accident reports, witness statements, and details of the other vehicles involved to help support your claim. Without it, the insurance company will not be able to paint a full and accurate picture of what happened.
Once the insurance company has the documents, they will review your policy and let you know if you can make a claim. If they decide that they can pay your claim based on your contract, a dedicated advisor will walk you through all the next steps and keep you up to date with the latest information regarding the status of your claim.
Dispute Resolution, if Applicable
If your claim is denied, not all is lost. All insurers have a dispute resolution process. Serious matters can also be directed to a lawyer for settlement.
Filing Multiple Insurance Claims
Insurance is a financial safety net when you get into an accident but, if you’re prone to such incidents on the road, you should be careful about how often you turn to your provider for help.
We’ve talked about how to make an auto insurance claim. Now, let’s discuss when you should do that. Here are some things you should think about when filing two or more insurance claims:
Higher Deductibles and Premiums
If you were at-fault in multiple incidents and they are completely unrelated accidents, you will pay two deductibles, even if you file them at the same time. Accidents also drive your premiums up. It might make more sense for you to pay out of pocket for one of the accidents if there was minor damage, so long as it didn’t have to be reported to the police and turns out to be cheaper in the long run.
Denied Renewal Risk
If you’ve made too many claims, have DUIs, have had too many accidents or a bad driving record, or have made fraudulent claims, your insurer may choose not to renew your policy. It is within their right to do this. This will make it harder to find a new insurance provider, as most providers do not like to take on risky clients with recent histories of multiple collisions. When you do find auto insurance, your premiums will understandably be higher. It’s therefore in your best interest to stay safe on the road, both for your health and for your finances.
Respecting the Reporting Limit and Avoiding Pitfalls
If you have filed no-fault or comprehensive claims, they should not affect your rate unless you have done so multiple times within the reporting limit.
You can avoid insurance pitfalls by driving with caution, maintaining a clean driving record, and paying for minor repairs out of pocket. Rising premiums will be more expensive in the long run, so it’s advisable to avoid making multiple insurance claims during the reporting time limit.
It’s easy to file a claim, sure, but it’s not so simple when you need to negotiate with your insurance provider. Working with an insurance broker has many perks, and one of these is filing your claims and negotiating on your behalf. Talk to us today to learn about all the benefits our insurance broker team can offer you.