October 6, 2009

What To Do After Filing An Auto Insurance Claim

After filing an auto insurance claim, many drivers aren’t sure what to do other than just sit back and wait. In most cases, that’s actually a good course of action–to a point. If your insurance company seems to be avoiding or ignoring your claim, though, it’s certainly within your rights to press them into making the next move, ensuring that your claim is paid as quickly and fairly as is possible.

Immediately after an auto accident, you should file your claim with your insurance company. This is the best first step to getting your claim recognized. Make a note of when you called to speak with a representative, when papers were filed (and keep all copies of any papers involved with the claim), etc. Make sure that there’s nothing left for you to do and that the ball’s entirely in the auto insurance company’s court. Check your state’s laws on auto insurance claims. In most states, insurance companies are required to respond to auto insurance claims within a certain period of time, commonly about 2-3 weeks. Make a note of this, and call your insurance company occasionally if you’d like updates on how the claim is going. Don’t be too bothersome, but once every few days should be sufficient.

If you do not get a satisfactory response on your auto insurance claim within the state-mandated time frame, you should contact your insurance company and let them know that you’re unhappy with the length of time that your claim is taking, and that you need a response quickly. Ask to speak to a manager or someone who’s in charge of processing claims, and be courteous but stern. If you’re still unable to get an idea of how much longer you’re expected to wait (or how much of your claim will be paid), you might consider filing a complaint with your state’s insurance department. Simply mentioning this complaint may get your auto insurance claim processed rather quickly, as insurance companies understandably want to avoid the heavy fines that can come from state investigation and litigation, which result from excessive complaints.

Remember that auto insurance companies generally don’t like to pay out on claims, so it’s a good idea to get your own estimate of the damages you’re due. Read up on your policy, and make sure to file an accurate (not exaggerated) claim, and you’ll likely be paid out well within a reasonable time frame. Keep records of everything and keep a steady contact with your insurance company just to be safe, and the auto insurance claims process should be fairly hassle-free.