February 10, 2012

How Auto Insurance Coverage Claims Are Typically Processed

There is a lot of information that needs to be understood when it comes to auto insurance coverage. The fact that car insurance is a state mandated and state run program makes it difficult to know all of the laws across the country. Each state has its own laws and some of them can be quite difficult to comprehend. For most people, simply obtaining car insurance is the main objective since many people do not think about getting into accident. Unfortunately, as a good a driver as any individual can be, there are still bad drivers around all the time. Even if a person is always careful and follows all the rules, there is still a good chance that an accident will occur. In the event that an accident does occur, or to be prepared in case one does, it is critical to know how auto insurance coverage claims are processed, including the assessing vehicle damage part.

When an accident first occurs, all parties (theoretically) must remain put and exchange insurance information. Depending on the severity of the accident, police officers and an EMT might be phoned to be on the scene as well. The police officers on the scene will take statements from all involved parties as well as conduct a preliminary assessment of the scene. This means taking down information about the drivers, the car information of all involved parties and writing down all damages incurred. Those police officers are not in a position to determine who was at fault.

The next step involves contacting the car insurance company to file the claim. The insurance company will need all of the information the policyholder gathered on the scene including the other parties' insurance and driver's license information, as well as the police report number. Sometimes getting the police report number can take a few hours to a day, but the insurance company must have it. The agent will then take down the statement their policyholder gives them and review the police report. No determination of fault can yet be made, however.

The agent will then move to assessing vehicle damage. An assessment professional for the car insurance company will go assess the damage on their policyholder's vehicle and possibly the other vehicle involved as well. This will help them make a determination of who was at fault. From the result of the findings, the agency will determine how much damage needs to be paid out and how much both their policyholder and the other involved parties need to be reimbursed. The claim is then fully filed and payouts happen within a couple of months.

Knowing how the process works can help if/when an accident occurs.