December 14, 2011

Four Simple Tips When Making An Auto Insurance Coverage Claim

No driver enjoys making an insurance claim. The process of assessing vehicle damage and submitting proper documentation to receive a payout can be somewhat complex in certain situations, but drivers who have reliable auto insurance coverage should be able to quickly receive payouts, provided that they follow appropriate procedures when submitting and following up on their claims.

First of all, drivers should be careful to understand their coverage and to only submit valid claims. This starts when buying auto insurance coverage, as all drivers should be careful to select policies that provide appropriate financial protection. It can be helpful to know which claims fall under which types of coverage. Many drivers misunderstand their policies and try to submit claims for property in their vehicles, which is rarely covered, or for towing services, which aren't covered unless a driver has roadside assistance coverage. Carefully reading through an insurance policy will make it much easier to understand coverage and to submit a relevant claim.

It's okay to regularly check with an insurance claims agent to see how a claim is processing. Sending an email or making a quick phone call can help a claim move along and can provide an idea of what to expect when assessing vehicle damage. However, it's also important to avoid bothering claims agents unnecessarily. Drivers should only check on the status of their claims every few days and perhaps a bit more frequently if there's been no response on a claim for over a week, as a long delay can indicate problems with an auto insurance claim.

Drivers should also keep a copy of all paper or electronic contact that they have with their claims agents and other insurance company employees, as this can help to clear up misunderstandings later on. Important claims documents can be misplaced, so keeping an extra copy will help to make sure that the process goes smoothly.

Finally, it's important to be polite. As minor and obvious as it might seem, politeness can make a big difference in insurance claims, as claims agents often have the power to approve non-covered items like car rentals and roadside assistance. Politeness can save a driver a lot of trouble and money, but it's also important to know when to be firm. Drivers who aren't receiving adequate payouts for valid claims should be ready to contact their state insurance commissions, especially if an insurance company seems to be taking too long to decide on a claim. A state insurance commissioner has the power to compel an insurance provider to respond to a claim quickly and fairly and can be a great last resort for drivers.