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September 16, 2009

Car Insurance Claim Tips

We've all been there—pulled off on the side of the road, staring at the back bumper with the huge, fresh dent, wondering who's at fault (them, of course) and if the car insurance company will honor your claim. Filing a car insurance claim doesn't have to be intimidating, and with these tips, you'll get the claims process started quickly and easily.

Get the Ball Rolling

Car accident After a car accident, call your car insurance company and/or agent as soon as possible. The quicker you report a claim, the quicker the process can get started. And the faster the claims process gets going, the sooner your car will get repaired, and you will have it back. Think about it—most of us can't go without our car for even a week, let alone two or three. If having your car back quickly isn't incentive enough, know that your insurer could deny payment of your claim if the accident isn't reported within a reasonable period. Read your policy for more details.

Car Insurance Claim Tips
A good friend of mine worked as an insurance claims rep for a major car insurance company. She gave me some tips, which should seem like common sense, but can easily be forgotten when staring at a crumpled car.

1. Remember as many details as possible. The claims process will go much smoother if your insurance company has all the pieces of the puzzle. Write down:

• Names and addresses of all drivers and passengers involved in the accident
• Insurance information
• License plate numbers
• Make and model of each car
• Driver's license numbers
• Names and addresses of witnesses
• Names and badge numbers of police officers or other emergency personnel

Note-pad 2. Keep an accident preparedness kit in your car. Whether you keep them in your glove compartment or trunk, keep these items handy, just in case:

• Disposable camera
• Cell phone
• Paper and pencil/pen
• Contact numbers
• Warning triangles or emergency flares

Having these simple items on hand can make the claims process easier because you will be able to take pictures of damage caused by the accident, take notes, as well as call for help.

3. Stay Calm. People are more likely to share their insurance and other information if you stay calm and mature. If the others are uncooperative, call the police—most people are much more willing to give their information to a cop.

4. Don't lie. Remember what happened to Pinocchio when he told a lie? Well, your nose may not grow, but your bank account may shrink. Auto insurance fraud forces the price of car insurance to rise—even for the honest people.

If you are involved in a car accident and your car insurance rates increase, it may be a good time to search for a different car insurance company. Use the AskPatty Car Insurance Center to compare car insurance rates from multiple providers, and save yourself a lot of headaches.

Insweb_logo Article provided by InsWeb

Gina_Scott_Insweb Gina M. Scott is a Web writer and blogger for InsWeb. She has worked as a Web writer and journalist for three years, covering a variety of topics such as technology, government, and cyber security, since graduating from Sacramento State University with a BA in English—professional and creative writing. She now specializes in auto, home, term life, health and other insurance topics for InsWeb. Born and raised in Northern California, Gina enjoys traveling and creative writing.

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