Be A Crash Test Dummy:
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationís Traffic Safety Facts report, during 2009, more than 5.5 million motor vehicle crashes were reported to police across the U.S. If you were in an accident, would you know what information to get for an insurance claim? The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers these easy to follow tips to get the necessary information following a crash.
From an accident to a breakdown, you should be ready for anything that can go wrong on the road. Start by refreshing your memory about what is covered by your auto insurance policy. A few important things to know: What is your deductible? Your liability limits? Is towing or a rental car covered? For an explanation of these terms and other possible coverages, check out the auto section of your life situation at InsureUonline.org.
Remember, insurance follows the car, not the driver. Always make sure there is a current copy of the insurance ID card and an accident checklist in the car. Make it easier by keeping these documents with your car registration.
After an Accident
The minutes and hours following an accident can be hectic and adrenaline-filled. Here are ten important things to remember in the heat of the moment:
Filing the Claim
Filing a claim can be a confusing process. To help, notify your agent or insurance company about the accident as soon as possible while the details are still fresh in your mind.
When you call, have available the police report, your insurance card or declarations page, and all of the information collected at the scene.
Ask questions. Make sure you understand who's coverage pays for which damages. If there were injuries, ask if you live in a fault or no-fault state. In a no-fault state a driver does not have to prove the crash was somebody elseís fault before being reimbursed for medical expenses up to an amount listed in the policy. In a no-fault state, Personal Injury Protection or PIP will be a listed coverage on the declarations page.
If it was a multi-car accident, the insurance companies involved may investigate the circumstances of the crash. A claims adjuster will likely want to examine the damage to the car and talk with you about the accident. Your insurance company will use the adjusterís findings as the basis of their settlement.
If it was a minor accident and the car is still drivable, the company may offer you several auto repair shops to choose from that can also act as the adjuster for the claim.
No matter how you decide to get your car fixed, keep notes of all conversations you have with various company representatives. Also keep all written material regarding the claim.
Contact your state insurance department if you have problems settling the claim with your insurance company. Consumer representatives can better explain the claims process and can assist if you choose to file a complaint against the insurance company. Click here to find your state insurance departmentís contact information.
Understanding auto insurance can be difficult, so take the guess work out of buying a policy. Get smart about your insurance needs. For a quick primer on auto insurance read this consumer alert. For more information and tips on how to save money on your premiums, go to www.InsureUonline.org and choose the life stage that best fits your situation. You can also download the Consumerís Guide to Auto Insurance.
About the NAIC
Formed in 1871, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is a voluntary organization of the chief insurance regulatory officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. The NAIC has three offices: Executive Office, Washington, D.C.; Central Office, Kansas City, Mo.; and Securities Valuation Office, New York City. The NAIC serves the needs of consumers and the industry, with an overriding objective of supporting state insurance regulators as they protect consumers and maintain the financial stability of the insurance marketplace. For more consumer information, visit insureUonline.org.
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©2011 National Association of Insurance Commissioners. All rights reserved.