How to Make a Car Insurance Claim after an Accident: 2023 Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Car Insurance Claim after an Accident

how to make a car insurance claim after an accident

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There has been a car accident and you were involved. The next ideal step is to file a claim. The article below will help you understand the process and assist you with the possible steps on how to make a car insurance claim after an accident. The following salient tips will help you understand how the claims process works and walk you through the claims settlement process.

Did u expect that crash? No! But it has happened and you need to get yourself out of the mess. Having ensured that everybody is safe, it would be very necessary to start making plans on how to make a car insurance claim after an accident. It is pertinent to take steps to help make sure that everyone is safe, that you are following due process of the law and to get the insurance claim process kicking off. The good news is this article on how to make a car insurance claim after an accident will help.

Understanding the Process on How to Make a Car Insurance Claim after an Accident

What Is an Auto Insurance Claim?

An auto insurance claim is a request which one who has been involved in an accident makes to an insurance company for remuneration and redress. Insurance claims apply to damages accrued after a car accident or for intervention or representation on behalf of the insured when they are liable for damages. Repairing a car individually can be quite expensive, so if you are involved in an accident, you will want to know how to make a car insurance claim after an accident.

You may likely want to take the following steps:

Be Well Informed about Your Policy

It is advised to sit down and thoroughly read your policy as it applies to you. It provides a detailed explanation about your insurance coverages, your rights and your liabilities under the contract. This will assist you on how to make a car insurance claim after an accident.

The claims process will be a lot easier to comprehend if you understand the details of your coverage and your responsibilities.

Report the Incident to Your Insurance Company 

In a car accident situation, the first step on how to make a car insurance claim after an accident is to report it to your insurance agent, broker, or insurance company within seven days, irrespective of whose fault it is.

If you fail to report your accident within a reasonable amount of time, your insurance company may decline to honour your claim.

Certain basic information will be required by your insurer : 

  • The number of your policy
  • The Licence plate number of the vehicle, model and car company name, year vehicle was manufactured and registrationNumber of passengers involved
  • Details of the accident which includes the driver’s name, and if he is not the registered owner, his license number
  • Date, time and location of the accident
  • The extent of any injuries
  • The extent of damage to the vehicle
  • Your account of the accident
  • Registered Names and licence numbers of all drivers involved in the accident
  • Names of the insurance companies as well as auto insurance policies of the drivers involved
  • If the accident was reported to police, the name and badge number of the investigating officer  

Next Thing to Do after You File a Claim with Your Insurance Company 

Once you have reported your claim, you will be contacted by your claims adjuster assigned to your file.

You may also be required to complete a claim form, also known as a Proof of Loss form to support your claim.

Your claims adjuster will guide you through the entire claims process

How Does Your Insurer Determine Fault?

One of the parties involved in an accident is always determined to be at fault in an auto accident, either partially or fully.

Insurance companies must determine the level of fault to ensure that the premiums of the party who was more than 25 percent at-fault are adjusted appropriately.

The Insurance Act and the Fault Determination Rules made under the Insurance Act are to determine fault for an auto accident.  

As soon as you report an accident to your insurer, the company will investigate the circumstances of the accident and then determine fault based on the Fault Determination Rules.

These rules:

  • Use diagrams to cover more than 40 accident situations to illustrate specific occurrences, and can be applied to almost every road collision scenario possible; and
  • are applied irrespective of road or weather conditions, visibility, point of impact on the vehicles, or the actions of pedestrians.

Note that fault may be shared between multiple parties involved in an accident in some cases.

In an Auto Accident, Can Fault Be Shared?

Absolutely! The circumstances of an accident may show that more than one driver was partially at fault for purposes of insurance. This is shy you need to know how to make a car insurance claim after an accident; so you can avoid taking blames for something that was not entirely your fault.

Do Police Charges or Convictions Influence Your Insurance Company’s Decision?

Even if you are charged with an offence, you may not necessarily be found at fault for insurance purposes.

Conversely, if the police do not file charges, it does not necessarily mean that the insurance companies investigating the circumstances of the accident will not find one or more of the drivers involved at fault.

What Is the Implication of At-Fault Accident?

A driver’s fault is between 100 percent and zero percent. Any driver who is more than zero percent at fault will have on his insurance record that he is at fault.

If the driver is more than 25 percent at-fault for the accident, his premium will likely go up on renewal.

Have in mind while learning how to make a car insurance claim after an accident that if you lend your vehicle to someone, their accident will go on your record.

What You Can Do If You Do Not Agree With Your Insurance Company’s Assessment of Fault

If you feel there was an error by your insurance company in settling your claim, ask your claims adjuster which Fault Determination rule was applied in your case. 

Bring any extra information to the attention of your insurance company. Generally, an insurance company will review its decision on fault only if additional information is relevant. 

If your insurance company refuses to review their decision and you still disagree, contact your insurance company’s complaint officer.

What If the Other Driver Has No Insurance?

If the other motor vehicle involved in the accident does not have insurance, you could make claims under the mandatory Uninsured Motorist Coverage of your policy. You must be knowledgeable on how to make a car insurance claim after an accident so as to pinpoint the owner or driver of the other vehicle involved in the auto crash, and you will be covered for damage to your vehicle and its contents up to $25,000, less the first $300 of the loss.

What to Expect If There Has Been Damage To Your Vehicle

The amount you receive as remuneration will depend on the extent you were found at fault for the damage as well as the type of insurance coverage you purchased. Communicate with your claims adjuster pertaining to your specific situation.

Comprehensive Coverage

If you are under Comprehensive Coverage you will be covered for the repair or replacement of your vehicle due to a non-collision loss, (these include those perils listed under Specified Perils, falling or flying objects, missiles and vandalism, irrespective of fault), less the deductible you choose at the time you purchased the coverage.

Collision Coverage:

If you are running Collision Coverage, your insurance company will pay to fix or replace your vehicle if it is damaged in an accident, fault notwithstanding, less the deductible you choose at the time you acquired the coverage. This also involves cases where an uninsured driver cannot be identified or damaged your vehicle.

All Perils Coverage:

It is advised to consider perils coverage if you understand how to make a car insurance claim after an accident. If you are covered under All Perils Coverage, the insurance company will pay for all losses noted under Collision or Upset and Comprehensive Coverages, irrespective of fault, less the deductible you chose at the time you purchased the coverage.

If you had personal items that were lost in the process, your policy may not pay for them or may pay only a limited amount. However, if you have a condominium, homeowners or renters insurance policy, your personal property may be covered under that policy. Contact your agent, broker, or insurance company to give you more details.

How Does Your Insurance Firm Decide Whether to Repair Your Vehicle or Declare It a write Off?  

When you claim for damages to your vehicle, your insurance firm can pay the lower of the following:

  • What it will cost to repair the loss or damage, or
  • the “actual cash value” of your vehicle at the time of the accident.

“Actual Cash Value” (ACV)  is the amount of money needed to replace your vehicle with a similar one. 

If You Haven’t Been Provided with a Good Cash Settlement

Conduct research to source for the price of similar cars. Although these are survey prices, not the cost of selling, it should give you insight as to the worth of your vehicle. If the average price is substantially higher than the cash settlement given to you by your insurance company, involve your claims adjuster. Your grasp of how to make a car insurance claim after an accident will be useful here.

If you are still unsatisfied, the issue can be sorted out by an appraisal under the Insurance Act. Your request for an appraisal has to be in writing, and it is compulsory for your insurance company to participate. The request can be made by the insurance company in writing, but you have to decide whether or not to participate. In this process, each side will get an appraiser, and both appraisers will either agree on a value or if they disagree, will both agree to appoint an umpire who will make a final decision on the matter.

How to Go About Getting Your Vehicle Repaired

Choosing a Repair Shop

If you know how to make a car insurance claim after an accident, then you’d know that you reserve the right to have your vehicle’s damage estimated and repaired at the repair shop of your choice. When you select the shop yourself, the responsibility to get a good repair job rests with you, no longer the insurer. Any problem that arises when you repair your vehicle is a contractual matter between you and the repairer. Therefore it is best to source for a good repair shop and inform your insurer when you do.

You can as well choose a service provider even if you have an adjuster.

Is It the Duty of Your Insurance company to Provide You with a Rental Vehicle?

If the insurance company of the other driver accepts full fault for the accident, you should be provided with a replacement vehicle (for a substantial length of time) while your vehicle is being repaired.

But if you are partly at fault for the accident, and you are not covered under optional Loss of Use (Transportation Replacement) Coverage, you may not be covered for the cost of a rental vehicle. 

Is It Proper for Your Insurance Company to Replace Parts In Your Vehicle with Used Parts When It Is Being Repaired?

Yes, it is proper for your insurance company to repair or replace any damaged parts of your vehicle with other parts “of similar kind and quality.”  

No matter the age of your vehicle, most insurance companies will replace faulty safety-related parts with new ones.  

You May Be Liable for Paying Certain Deductibles

When you file the claim, you may be liable for a deductible. Except the accident was not your fault or was only partially your fault, you can expect to pay your full deductible 

What to Do If You Have Been Injured

If you are injured in a car accident and you want to know how to make a car insurance claim after an accident, you could expect the following benefits:

  • Income replacement: starts repaying job income you would have earned, had you not been injured
  • Attendant Care: covers part of the costs of an aide or attendant
  • Medical: this pays for medical bills incurred through your treatment
  • Caregiver: reimburses you if you are needed to leave work to take care of an injured member of your house
  • Non-earner: offers compensation if you are fully incapacitated to carry on your normal life and are not eligible for income replacement or caregiver benefit
  • Rehabilitation: covers fees incurred during the rehabilitation
  • Compensation for Other Expenses: this may finance the cost of family visits during treatment or recuperation, some housekeeping and home maintenance, the fixing or replacement of some belongings that were lost or destroyed in the accident or other miscellaneous expenses.

When You Don’t Have Any Car or Auto Insurance Policy

If you don’t have auto insurance and are not covered by anyone’s policy, but have been injured in an auto accident, you are still entitled to a claim for accident benefits. The circumstances will determine which insurance company will take responsibility for paying for the accident benefits you may be entitled to.

The chart below will help you to know which insurance company to send the Accident Benefits Application Package to.

Your Situation/CircumstanceWhere to Send the Application
You were driving a company vehicle. ​The company that insured the company vehicle.  ​
You were a passenger in someone else’s vehicle when injured​The insurance firm of the automobile you were in. ​
You were a passenger in an uninsured car and more than one vehicle were involved in the accident.​The insurance firm of an insured vehicle that was a part of the accident.​
You were walking or cycling. ​The insurance company of the vehicle that injured you. ​
None of the above. ​Apply to Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF); (for Ontario residents)

Applying for Accident Benefit: Ontario

When applying for accident benefits, you will be provided with an Accident Benefits Application Package that will include the following five forms:

  1. Application for Accident Benefits (OCF-1)
  2. Employer’s Confirmation of Income (OCF-2)
  3. Disability Certificate (OCF-3)
  4. Permission to Disclose Health Information (OCF-5)
  5. Treatment Confirmation Form (OCF-23)

It will be reviewed and your insurance company will tell you the ones you are qualified for.

Accident Benefits Coverage: Alberta

In Alberta, if you are injured in an automobile accident, irrespective of whether you are at fault for the accident or not, you are entitled to accident benefits coverage.

The accident benefits you receive vary depending on the type of injury you have:

  • If your injury is a strain, sprain, or a whiplash related with disorder I or II.
  • For all other injuries.

Visit the Government of Alberta’s website here, to learn more about accident benefits coverage in Alberta.

What Your Family Can Expect If You Do Not Survive an Accident

If you do not survive the accident, members of the family may be entitled to the following benefits:

  • In the case of death: Insurer will  pay money to members of your family
  • For your funeral: handles part of the funeral expenses

What Can You Do If You and Your Insurance Company Do Not Agree on Your Entitlement to Accident Benefits or the Number of Benefits?

If you need help resolving your dispute, Automobile Accident Benefits Service (AABS) could be useful.

 AABS is a section of the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT), a tribunal that is a section of the Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario (SLASTO) bundle. The Tribunal is independent of the government and the insurance companies.

Exclusions from Accident Claim Compensation

In some cases, your insurance company may deny payment of certain expenses like the Income Replacement, Non-earner and Compensation for Other Expenses. Some of these cases are highlighted below:

  • Moving around without a valid driver’s licence
  • Driving around without valid insurance
  • Driving a vehicle without the owner’s consent
  • While you have been specifically excluded from driving under your insurance policy and you still drive
  • In a situation of fraud 
  • Driving a vehicle while committing an offence(whether the crime is related to the use of the vehicle or not)
  • With this detailed explanation on how to make a car insurance claim after an accident, you’d know when to seek compensation and when to pay out of your pocket.

Is a Police Report Necessary to File a Claim?

No, a police report isn’t needed to file any claim but contacting the police will be vital in the following circumstances:

  • In case of emergency and injuries. (remember to call 911 immediately.)
  • If you think an offence may have been committed.

If injuries, severe damages, or public property damage occur, it would be best to call the police. If you are disoriented, it is still advised to call the police and they can help control the situation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on How to Make a Car Insurance Claim After an Accident 

How Can I Lower My Car Insurance After an Accident?

You can lower your car insurance after an accident by any or a combination of the following:
– Check whether your policy has an accident forgiveness clause.
– Shop around for a new policy.
– Increase your deductible.
– Utilize other discounts, such as multi-policy discounts or rebates.
– Go through driving education.

How Do You Negotiate with Insurance after an Accident?

Inform your insurance company about the accident no matter how insignificant it was.
8 Auto Accident Settlement Negotiation Tips
Institute a Claim as Soon as Possible After a car accident.
Keep apt Records of the Accident.
Calculate a Settlement that is good enough.
Send a comprehensive Letter of Demand to the Insurance Company.
Be skeptical about the First Offer.
Make the Points in Your Favor.
Put Everything in Writing.

How Long Does It Take for a Wreck to Come off Your Insurance?

An increase in premium after an accident usually stays for three to five years, but this depends on the company and state.

What Does Accident Forgiveness Mean?

Accident Forgiveness is extra coverage that you may be eligible for that can be added to your car insurance policy, where your premium will not increase because of an initial accident. You may qualify for this benefit if you have stayed for 5 years with no driving accident.

Should You Switch Insurance after an Accident?

Normally, you would want to switch insurance companies after you experience an at-fault accident if you have to deal with higher insurance premiums. The insurance company may not offer accident forgiveness, for instance, in a case where you might be paying 50% or 80% higher insurance premium after an at-fault incident.

Should I Report Fender Bender to Insurance?

You are legally bound to involve the police if there are injuries or property damage beyond a fixed value. Do not immediately admit that you are at fault or decide not to file an insurance claim. Always interchange insurance information with any other drivers involved, even if it’s just a little fender bender

Can You Claim Insurance If It Was Your Fault?

If you are regarded at fault for an accident or damage, your insurer will not be able to get back their costs if they have paid for your repairs. Asides from that, the third party or their insurance agent will likely claim their costs back from your insurance company.

What Happens When a Car Accident Is Your Fault?

If you’re considered to be ‘at fault’ by the other party and their insurer, they’ll ask you to take care of the bill for the damages. Without any insurance policy, you may have to pay out of your own pocket.

How Much Does an Accident Raise Your Insurance?

Future premiums might not feel huge because of one little trouble, but your premium will likely increase anywhere between 5% and 20%. In other words, if you make as much as one more claim in a space of 12 months, your premium will increase again. Expect a huge chunk out of your pocket not just on the premium but also excess cost.

How Do Insurance Companies Determine Fault?

It is the duty of the insurers that insure the drivers who were involved in the accidents to determine fault. They apportion each party a certain percentage of fault based on the drivers’ conduct. The adjuster dealing with the case bases the amount of fault on the circumstances surrounding the auto crash.

Final Words: How to Make a Car Insurance Claim After an Accident

Experiencing an accident can be a devastating situation but it is not the end of the world for you! We don’t wish that you would be involved in a car accident, however, with the salient points above specially tailored to help you ease tension and guide you through the process on how to make a car insurance claim after an accident, we hope that car making insurance claims after an accident would not seem as cumbersome as it would have been, save for this article.

READ ALSO -> How to Get More Money from Insurance for Totaled Vehicle.

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