February 10, 2011

How Your Auto Insurance Company Deals With A Comprehensive Claim

Following a blizzard last winter, you awoke to discover that a tree collapsed and crushed the roof of your SUV. There is broken glass everywhere and your vehicle is buried in snow. As soon as you recovered from the shock, you naturally picked up the phone to notify your auto insurance company of the loss. Suddenly, you have an auto insurance comprehensive claim filed under your policy. What does this mean, and what should you expect? How will your insurance carrier deal with your comprehensive claim?

For the purposes of insurance, an auto insurance comprehensive claim is the result of a loss which is not a collision. The car insurance policy defines such losses in detail, but they are most often due to fire, theft, vandalism, inclement weather, animal impact, glass damage and objects which fall out of the sky. Sometimes there are exclusions, so check with your insurance carrier. Once the claim is reported, your car insurance company will ask the questions necessary to verify that your loss is truly a comprehensive one.

Of course, in order to experience a comprehensive claim, you must be carrying comprehensive insurance on your car insurance policy. Often a deductible will apply to a comprehensive loss. Common deductible amounts are $250, $500, and $1,000. The policyholder is responsible for paying the deductible, and then the insurance policy would pay for any damage over the deductible.

Your auto insurance company will probably need to set your vehicle up for an inspection in order to determine the amount of damage to your vehicle. Car insurance carriers employ a variety of different methods of inspecting damage, and they should be able to work with you to find a method of inspection best suited to your needs and schedule. Once a claims adjuster has inspected your vehicle, he should provide you with an estimate and instructions on getting your vehicle repaired.

Your claims adjuster should be able to offer advice on repairs, including a clear explanation of the estimate. Your claims adjuster may even be able to recommend certain body shops which the auto insurance company has vetted for quality and customer service. However, be aware that your insurance company cannot tell you how or where to have your vehicle repaired. It is always your right to take your vehicle to the body shop of your choice. Also, your claims adjuster may be able to offer you advice on obtaining a rental vehicle.

No doubt experiencing a comprehensive loss is distressing, but it does not need to be a thoroughly unpleasant experience. An auto insurance company offering good customer service will be of assistance at every turn, and will walk you through the entire claim process.