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Here are general guidelines for how to file a car insurance claim to make the process as stress-free as possible.

  • Know your insurance coverage
    • In the event of a car accident, the type of coverage you have will determine who is liable to pay the damages.
  • What to do if you are in a car accident
    • Determine the extent of damage or injuries and check to see if anyone needs medical attention.
    • Call the police to file a car accident report.
    • Get the information of all those involved: names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance information, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and license plates.
    • Look for witnesses who would be willing to testify their account of the accident and record their names and phone numbers.
  • How to submit the insurance claim
    • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. They will walk you through the claims process.
    • Expect to provide details about the accident, including the time, place, date, photos of the scene, a copy of the police report, and names, addresses, and insurance information of everyone involved. If you have witnesses, you may use their account of the accident to support your claim.
    • If there is a dispute between the two parties, be prepared to get a call from the other driver's insurance company asking for your account of the accident.
  • Investigation
    • A claims adjuster will assess the damage of your vehicle and estimate the cost of  repairs. Usually, insurance companies and auto body shops negotiate disagreements about what should be repaired
  • Payment
    • Depending on who is at fault, either party's insurance company is responsible to pay for the reasonable cost of repairs to the damaged vehicle.
    •  If you are not at fault, depending on the type of coverage the other party has, you may be able to seek reimbursement for your collision insurance deductible, time off work, auto rental differential, and the amount of your car's diminished resale value, in addition to the physical damages to your vehicle

If both insurance companies fail to come to an agreement on liability and cost of repairs, you may want to consult an attorney. You can Find a Lawyer at to help you through the insurance claims process.


This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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