Brian White | March 19, 2018 | Insurance Claims
If you or a loved one suffered harm or property damage in a car accident, you may be eligible for compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Insurance law can be confusing, and each insurance company has different processes for filing claims. Here’s how to file a car accident claim with General Car Insurance.
Immediately After the Accident
Just after the accident, pull your vehicles over to the side of the road and make sure that everyone involved in the crash is okay. Call emergency medical services if necessary. Regardless of your insurance policy, safety is always the first step to navigating an auto accident.
Next, call the police. Keep in mind that if you live in certain urban areas, police will only report to the scene of an accident if an injury occurs. If you’re dealing with only property damage, you may have to report to the station and request to file a police report. In either case, contact the police and ask them about your next steps.
While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, exchange insurance information with the other driver. Exchange names, phone numbers, license plate numbers, and the name of the driver’s insurance company. Be polite to the other driver, but don’t make accusations or admit fault. Even something as simple as an apology could be tantamount to admitting fault.
Lastly, collect as much evidence as possible while waiting for the police. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, positions of both cars, and any surrounding landmarks. These could prove valuable to a claims adjuster. At the very least, write down basic information about the car involved in the accident – make, model, and description of the damage.
After the Police Arrive
When/if the police arrive on the scene, you will provide a statement to the responding officer. Don’t editorialize; stick to the facts. Describe the circumstances surrounding the accident in detail – what you were doing, the moments leading up to the accident, and how the impact affected the vehicle. Be specific and detailed, but don’t throw accusations or get emotional. The responding officer will take a statement from you, the other driver, and any witnesses. In the police report, he or she will make an initial designation of fault.
When the Police Leave the Scene
Once the police officer compiles information for his or her report and ensures that all parties are safe and physically unharmed, you’ll have to get your car off the road. If your car is drivable, you can take it home. Otherwise, you’ll have to contact a towing company to take your vehicle to a repair shop.
Now is a good time to contact your insurance company. It can help provide further guidance about your next steps – for example, it may only reimburse by using certain towing companies or completing repairs at approved shops. Reporting an accident to your insurance company as soon as possible is essential to protecting the health of your claim.
Keep in mind that you must follow all the conditions of your insurance contract to collect compensation for the full extent of your injuries and property damage. For example, you must cooperate with any investigation, submit all requests for paperwork in a timely manner, and follow any terms of the General Insurance claims settlement process. Failure to adhere to these policies could result in nonpayment for something the company would otherwise cover.
The hours and days following a car accident can be chaotic, but you can regain the reins if you know what to expect. By following these steps, you can expedite your claim with The General Car Insurance and be back on the road sooner.