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Car Accident Insurance Claims: Dos and Don'ts

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Car Accident Insurance
Claims: Dos and Don'ts

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Kyle & Josh
Accidents happen - and that's what insurance is for. You pay your auto insurance premiums on time in the hope that you'll never need to use the coverage. You strive to drive responsibly and carefully to enjoy the best car insurance rates. But even the best, most cautious driver can get into an accident. When that happens, it's comforting to know insurance is there to help you. When it's time to file a claim, keep these simple dos and don'ts in mind:

Do: Know your auto insurance coverage. Edmunds.com recommends you brush up on your auto insurance coverage before you ever need to file a claim. It's especially important to re-read your policy and understand your coverage. Also double check that your policy is complete, providing your family with the protection they might need in case of an accident.

Do: Call your insurance company to report the accident and initiate your claim as soon as it is safely and feasibly possible to do so. Reporting the accident and claim immediately will help ensure you're reporting what happened while the details of the experience are still fresh in your mind. Plus, it lets the insurer know you're operating in good faith and eager to work with them to resolve your claim.

Do: Get a case number for your claim from the claims adjuster you first speak with. Ask if it's possible to deal with this same person throughout the processing of your claim, and record his or her name and phone number. Always use this claim number on all correspondence with your insurer.

Do: Complete and file any specific forms the company asks you to fill out or provide, including estimates for the cost of repairing the damage. Keep good records of every conversation, correspondence and piece of paper that is exchanged between you and the insurance company.

Don't: Change or enhance your version of the crash in an effort to inflate or ensure the claim will be paid. Making outrageous insurance claims is fraud, and can land you in serious trouble if discovered.

Don't: Sit back and wait for the claim to resolve itself. Claims adjusters are people too, with job pressures and schedules as busy as yours. It's perfectly acceptable to keep in touch with your adjuster - in a polite and courteous way, of course - until your claim is settled to your satisfaction.

Don't: Avoid filing a claim because you think having a claim on your record will prevent you from saving on car insurance. Many factors determine your auto insurance rate, and some companies offer accident forgiveness and car insurance discounts for drivers whose records are otherwise unblemished.

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