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Auto Insurance Claims: A Comprehensive Guide

September 16, 2021

Automobile accidents happen. If you are involved in an automobile accident and you have to file a claim with your automobile insurance company, there are several ways to do this.  You can file an auto insurance claim directly with your insurance company by phone or online, or you can call your insurance agent, who will take down the details of your auto insurance claim and report the same claim to the insurance company on your behalf.  

There are two types of claims; Liability claims pay for damage you are legally responsible for and Physical Damage claims cover damages to your vehicle. 

Liability claims, often referred to as a third party claim, pay for Bodily Injury and/or Property  Damage you cause to another person’s vehicle or property. You must be found legally liable for this accident before your insurance company will make restitution to the injured party. This section of your West Hollywood personal automobile policy is paid on a “first dollar” basis, which means that you do not pay any money out of pocket. This is assuming that your limits of liability are high enough to cover all damages incurred. Your insurance company will pay only up to the limits of liability you have. Once that limit is exhausted you will be responsible for damages over and above that limit. 

If you are involved in a car insurance claim that you may be responsible for, let your insurance company handle any settlement with that other party. Do not involve yourself with the claim. Your insurance company reserves the right to settle the auto insurance claim as they see fit.  

Physical damage claims are for claims you make against your insurance company for damage to your vehicle and can be covered with a Comprehensive or  Collision coverage. There is generally a deductible that applies to this section of coverage, which is the amount you will pay out of your pocket before the insurance company steps in to settle your car insurance claim.  

When you file an auto insurance claim, your insurance agent or company will ask you for the date of the accident as well as the time and place the accident occurred. They will also want to have as much detailed information as you can provide them of the circumstances of the accident. This will include the information of any third party involved. If a police report was filed at the time of the accident be prepared to provide the information made available by the officer at the scene.

A claims adjuster will be assigned to assist you, who will advise you of your policy limits and  any deductibles that will be applied to your vehicle damage. They will also suggest such additional coverage that may be available to you, such as rental reimbursement coverage. Most insurance companies have contracts with auto repair services they can refer you to that  can expedite your repairs. You are not bound to use the collision repair service that you are  referred to but it is in your best interest to do so. Your damage will  surely be repaired to your satisfaction.