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How Does An Auto Insurance Claim Work?

people discussing auto insurance claim in office

The claims process is, in most cases, quite simple. Most insurance carriers understand that time is money, so they did their best to streamline the process as much as possible. They try to get as little involvement from their customers as possible.

How does an insurance company settle a claim?

Most insurance claims are pretty straightforward and the process only has three steps – the submission, the investigation and the payout.

The submission of a claim

The claims report should include all data you gathered from the scene of the accident: the names of the drivers involved, the license plate numbers, the other drivers’ insurance policy details, any eye witnesses, police records and so on. You will have to fill in a form – you can do it either in an offline, in a brick and mortar agency, or on the insurer’s website.

The insurance company will assign a claims adjuster who will proceed to the investigation of your incident. For your reference, you will receive a claim number (also known as claim id), which you should mention whenever you follow up on the result of your claim. The submission process shouldn’t take more than a few hours.

The investigation of the claim

Once the claim is received, the adjuster will proceed to analyze your records, verify the details and assess whose fault it was. The adjuster will typically review the images attached in your submission and the police records. This process can take a from a few days, for accidents without injuries, to a couple of years for complicated accidents with fatalities and shared guilt.

The payment

Once the adjuster has determined that you should be reimbursed, the insurer will use the current market rates to determine how much repairs will cost. If your car was totaled, the adjuster will appraise it at the moment of the incident based, again, on the current market prices. A check will then be issued towards the owner and the repair shop. This is normally when a typical claim is closed.

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