What You Need to Know Before You Call Your Insurance Company

Woman upset after a fender bender accident

The best driver in the world is still often at the mercy of the traffic around them. While you should always take measures to be as safe as you can, even the best of us are sometimes faced with a wreck. When that happens, information is your weapon to ensure that you get full coverage and aren’t left without the means to repair or replace your vehicle. While you usually will file a single claim, the medical and mechanical aspects of insurance are quite different. For simplicity, we’re going to focus on the mechanical stuff today.

Insurance Investigation

The investigation process is how insurers determine how much money will be awarded and who ultimately has to supply it. You don’t need a deep understanding of the total process, but knowing the basics can help you make sure you get the best results you can. The details of the investigation policy vary with insurance companies, policies, and the collision itself.

Some of the most common resources an insurance company will check are police reports. This is why everyone suggests you involve the police as soon as you can. It serves to provide objective statements, which are essential in “he said she said” situations. Insurers will also want photos of the damage. Usually, they’ll tell you how to take and submit pictures, but if you insist, you can often get them to send someone to inspect the car themselves.

The other most frequent resources include interviews with passengers and witnesses, medical reports, and interviews with medical providers. The medical information is mostly for injury claims, and it won’t usually affect the process to get your car fixed.

Setting up Repairs

Once the investigation determines the finances, you’ll be able to get your car fixed. Getting a repair quote is usually a part of the investigation, so by now, your car is often in the hands of mechanics. That said, there will be many scenarios where the mechanics who appraise the damage might not be the ones to repair it.

Insurance companies often partner with body or repair shops. They get discounts on work they provide to the mechanics, so they’ll want you to go to those places. However, you don’t have to. If you have a preferred mechanic, or if you can find a better deal, an approved claim pays regardless of who does the work.

In the most extreme cases, the vehicle may be totaled. When that happens, the insurance company is going to give you a cash payout. The actual value involves a bunch of overly complicated formulas, but it is almost never enough to buy a replacement vehicle. If your vehicle is totaled, you can still put that money towards repairs if you so choose. It comes down to how severe the damage is and how much time and money a repair might take.


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