Auto Insurance Claims: What to Do After an Accident

Auto Insurance Claims

Auto Insurance Claims

Car accidents are an unfortunate reality of driving, and no matter how careful you are, there is always a chance that you could be involved in one. If you do find yourself in an accident, it’s important to know what to do next, especially when it comes to filing an auto insurance claim.

In this article, we will take you through the steps you should follow after an accident, including how to gather evidence, how to report the accident to your insurance company, and what to expect from the claims process.

The first and most important thing to do after an accident is to stay calm and safe. This can be easier said than done, especially if you’re feeling shaken up or injured, but it’s crucial to keep a clear head and focus on your safety and the safety of others involved in the accident.

If possible, move your car to a safe location out of the flow of traffic. Turn on your hazard lights and set out cones or flares if you have them to alert other drivers to the accident.

If you are unable to move your car, turn on your hazard lights and stay inside with your seatbelt fastened until help arrives. If you smell gas or see smoke, get out of the car and move a safe distance away.

Check for Injuries and Call for Help

Once you’re in a safe location, the next step is to check for injuries and call for help if needed. Even if you feel fine, it’s important to assess yourself and any passengers for any injuries that may have occurred during the accident.

If anyone is injured, call 911 or the local emergency services immediately. Even if there are no serious injuries, it’s a good idea to call the police to report the accident and have an officer on the scene to document what happened.


Gather Information and Evidence

After ensuring everyone’s safety, the next step is to gather information and evidence related to the accident. This information will be crucial when it comes to filing your auto insurance claim.

Here are some things to gather:

  • Contact information of the other driver(s) involved, including their name, phone number, and insurance company name and policy number
  • Contact information of any witnesses who saw the accident happen
  • Photos of the accident scene, including damage to your car and any other cars involved, as well as any road markings or signs that may be relevant
  • A police report, if one was filed


Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company

Once you have gathered all the necessary information and evidence, the next step is to report the accident to your insurance company. You should do this as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of the accident.

When you call your insurance company, be prepared to provide them with the following information:

  • Your policy number
  • The date and time of the accident
  • The location of the accident
  • A brief description of what happened
  • The contact information of the other driver(s) involved and any witnesses
  • The police report number, if one was filed


File Your Claim and Work with an Adjuster

After reporting the accident to your insurance company, you will need to file a claim. Your insurance company will assign you an adjuster who will be responsible for handling your claim.

Here are the steps involved in the claims process:

Step 1: Provide Your Adjuster with Information and Evidence

Your adjuster will need all the information and evidence you gathered at the scene of the accident to process your claim. They may also ask for additional information, such as a copy of the police report or medical bills if you were injured in the accident.

Step 2: Determine Fault and Coverage

Your adjuster will review the information and evidence you provided to determine who was at fault for the accident and what coverage is available under your policy. If the other driver was at fault, their insurance company may be responsible for paying for damages and injuries.

Step 3: Get an Estimate

Your adjuster will also arrange for an estimate of the damage to your car. This may involve sending an appraiser to assess the damage or taking your car to a repair shop.

Step 4: Authorize Repairs

Once your adjuster has determined the extent of the damage and the cost of repairs, they will authorize the repairs to be made. You may be able to choose your own repair shop or the insurance company may have a network of approved repair shops you can use.

Step 5: Pay Your Deductible

If you have a deductible on your policy, you will need to pay it before the insurance company will pay for the repairs. Your deductible is the amount you agreed to pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in.

Step 6: Follow Up with Your Adjuster

Your adjuster will keep you updated on the progress of your claim and answer any questions you may have. If you have any concerns or issues during the claims process, don’t hesitate to reach out to your adjuster for help.


Data Table: Average Auto Insurance Claim Payment

One important aspect of auto insurance claims is the amount of compensation that is typically paid out for different types of claims. The following data table provides an overview of the average claim payments for various types of auto insurance claims in the United States.

Type of Claim Average Claim Payment
Bodily Injury Liability $18,417
Property Damage Liability $3,683
Collision $3,589
Comprehensive $1,627
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) $8,590
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist $15,819

Source: Insurance Information Institute

It is important to note that these are average claim payments and actual payments may vary depending on a variety of factors, including the specific details of the accident and the coverage limits of the insurance policy.



Filing an auto insurance claim can be a stressful and confusing process, but by following the steps outlined in this article, you can make the process as smooth and straightforward as possible. Remember to stay calm and safe at the scene of the accident, gather all the necessary information and evidence, and report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.

Working with your adjuster and following up on your claim will also help ensure that you get the compensation you deserve for any damages or injuries resulting from the accident. With these tips in mind, you can navigate the auto insurance claims process with confidence and peace of mind.