Picture this: You’ve just taken your family on vacation to Michigan, and you’re finally arriving home in Manitowoc on the SS Badger Ferry. As the ferry pulls in and your car comes off the boat, you head down to the parking lot and all load in for the drive home. You can’t wait to settle into your bed after a week on the road.
But that’s what an erratic driver comes peeling around the corner and SMASH! He rams right into your front fender. With all the hubbub of the ferry and passengers swarming around you, there you are with a smoking engine and a man screaming at you from the other vehicle.
Collisions like these are more common than you may think. And unfortunately, many people don’t know how to handle them — especially when it comes to filing a claim. Naturally, you never want to find yourself in such an unfortunate situation, but would you know what to do immediately after? Do you know who to call? How to file a claim?
Read on to learn the appropriate steps to take should you ever be in a collision similar to this one.
4 Steps to Filing a Car Insurance
Step 1: Call the police.
After ensuring everyone is safe, contact the police right away. They’ll take down the details of the accident and file a police report, which you should be sure to get a copy of.
Step 2: Start making a list of pertinent information about the accident.
There are numerous details you’ll want to gather about what happened:
- The time and place
- Who was involved and their full names and contact information
- A description of the cars involved
- Drivers’ license numbers
- License plate numbers
- The police officer’s name and badge number
- Pictures of all involved vehicles
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Pictures of any injuries
Step 3: Call your insurance agency.
Your insurance agency will have an emergency claims number. Call it immediately from the scene of the accident.
Step 4: Speak with your claims specialist about your repair options.
Explain what happened, give them any information they need, and begin the claims process. If your car isn’t drivable, ask where you should have it taken. They may be able to help you arrange for a towing service. If you have rental car insurance, this is when you’ll want to ask about setting up a loan car as well.
Your claims adjuster will handle discussions with the other party’s insurance company. They may be able to recommend a garage where you can have your car looked at as well. Sometimes, they have preapproved garages that they work with exclusively.
Once you have an estimate from the garage, your adjuster will take a look at it and may make adjustments. For example, they may require aftermarket or generic parts to be used. It’s also possible that they’ll look at the estimate costs and consider your vehicle totaled. This happens when damages are severe and means your vehicle will need to be replaced.
In the end, you and the adjuster have to agree on the estimate, and once it’s approved, you can move forward with repairs.
Warning: Your insurance company must approve the repairs before they are done at an auto body shop. If you don’t wait for approval and accept a garage’s estimate on your own, it’s possible your insurance company will not reimburse you. Part of the deal of your insurance company paying for repairs is that you allow them to weigh in.
Protect Yourself With the Right Insurance
Only a comprehensive insurance plan with the right endorsements and adequate limits will truly protect you after an auto accident. Speak with an agent at Gutman Insurance in Manitowoc, WI today to learn about your options.