If you are involved in a car accident, it is important that you maintain appropriate communication with your insurance company.
The following points are important to remember throughout the insurance claim process:
- Call your agent as soon as possible after the accident.
- Review and understand the coverage and exclusions of your policy.
- Consider whether you might have insurance coverage under some other insurance policy as well. In particular look at homeowner policies, ‘umbrella’ policies and credit card linked insurance policies.
- Make and keep detailed notes of all conversations with insurance company representatives, their names, phone numbers, titles, dates and time of conversations.
- Take pictures of damage to your vehicle, the scene and your injuries.
- Be honest and forthcoming with your insurer, it’s better to give all the facts.
- Understand the difference between replacement coverage and depreciated or actual cash value.
- Keep all receipts of meals, lodging and purchases made whilst pursuing your claim or recovering from injuries from the time of the covered event till final settlement.
- Don’t give recorded or written statements to your insurer, until you clearly understand your coverage. You are not required to allow your insurer to record your telephone conversation.
- Don’t automatically accept the estimate or appraisal of your losses given by your insurer.
- Don’t sign any releases or waivers until you obtain legal advice. A bad financial situation after a major loss may make it seem necessary for you to accept a premature, inadequate settlement.
- Don’t accept a ‘final payment’ until you are ready to do so.
- Don’t ignore time limits set by your policy.
- Don’t forget that you have a contract with your insurer, who has the obligation to provide the coverage it promised. Insist to enforce that obligation.