Tips For Filing A Car Insurance Claim

The weather is beautiful this time of year, isn’t it! The leaves will be changing soon, and then the inevitable… That 4 letter word known as SNOW!  Deer will soon be out looking for their Lady Love, and that can mean injury or damage to your vehicle! Chances are that if you drive, you will eventually be in an accident or have another incident that damages your car. We are here to help make the claims process as easy and smooth for you as possible.  Here are some tips on filing a car insurance claim.

Call us to submit a claim as soon as possible

You can call us directly at the office from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. If you have an incident that occurs outside of our normal business hours; you can call the insurance claims phone number that is listed on your insurance ID card.

  • Following a car collision
  • If your vehicle is vandalized or stolen
  • If your vehicle is damaged from a non-accident related event, such as fire or severe weather.

Information you may need to submit a claim

  • Your policy number
  • Date, time, and location of the incident
  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all drivers, passengers, and witnesses
  • Driver’s license and license plate numbers for all drivers
  • Whether or not anyone was injured
  • Whether or not the police were notified, and any information they provided
  • Details of what happened
  • Pictures of any damage if possible

What happens after you call us with a claim

  • We will contact your claims department directly and provide them with the information. They will give us a claim number so we are able to easily update and keep track of your claim.
  • Your claims department will call you within 1 business day to get any additional information they may need.
  • We will follow up with you personally to make sure that everything is going smoothly, and answer any questions you may have.
  • Take your vehicle in for an estimate. Before repairs are completed, make sure they are approved, so that you get reimbursed correctly!
  • Make sure to keep receipts for expenses as you fix your vehicle and/or seek medical treatment.
  • Your case will be reviewed and resolved, including any payments as appropriate.

Two Main Types of Claims: Bodily Injury & Property Damage

Here are some information and tips about the types of claims and what they mean to you.

  • Bodily Injury Claims

    If you are not at fault for the accident, you’ll typically be covered by the other driver’s coverage. However if you live in a no-fault state (ex. Minnesota and Michigan), you may pay for your injuries through your own personal injury protection (PIP). If you do have an accident in a no-fault state and carry a Wisconsin policy, you will still be covered.

    • Other medical coverages that will help pay for your injuries include:
      • Medical payments coverage: Helps pay for funeral costs, injuries suffered by your passengers, injuries to you if a car hits you while walking or biking, and necessary dental care resulting from a car accident.
      • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: Pays for injuries sustained in an accident with a driver who has no or too little insurance to cover your costs.
    • Tips for handling a bodily injury claim:
      • Take photos of the scene and your injuries.
      • File a police report and request a copy.
      • Visit a doctor immediately
      • Write down everything related to your injury, including any work time or activities you may have missed due to the injury.
        • This is necessary if you’re going to file a lost wages claim.
      • Finally, remember to never admit fault at the scene.
  • Property Damage Claims

    Your ability to file a claim for vehicle repairs depends on the cause of the damage and the coverages that you have. Liability property damage coverage does not cover your own car. It will pay for the damages you cause to the other party’s property.

    • There are two major coverage types that pay for damage to your vehicle:
      • Collision Coverage – pays for damages to your vehicle after a collision. For example, you hit a car, road guard rail, sign, building, etc.
      • Other Than Collision Coverage (often referred to as Comprehensive Coverage)– pays to cover damages not related to accidents. For example, you hit a deer, vandalism, severe weather damage, etc.
    • Other coverages that will cover property damage include:
      • Uninsured and underinsured motorist property damage coverage – Gets you reimbursement if you are in an accident and the driver that hit you does not have insurance.
      • Gap insurance coverage – Covers the difference if you have a car loan or are leasing your car, and it is declared a total loss.
      • Windshield or glass coverage – Replaces or repairs a windshield, mirror, or window that is damaged in an incident other than a collision.
    • Handling a property damage claim:
      • An insurance adjuster will inspect your vehicle and estimate how much it will cost to repair the damage. You will then receive a check from the insurance company that takes into account the auto deductible you chose for your policy.
      • To ensure your claim gets processes effectively:
        • Report the damage to us immediately. (Or the company if after business hours.)
        • If another driver was involved, exchange insurance information.
        • Allow your insurance company to expect the vehicle before repairs are made.
        • Protect the vehicle so no further damages are caused, and losses are limited. For example, if the accident causes a fender to rub on the tire, have that repair made immediately so the tire is not further damaged. If you don’t make the repair, your car insurance company can refuse to pay for any additional damages.
        • Save all receipts and any other documentation you receive. Turn the information in as part of your claim.
        • Provide any requested information the insurance company needs as part of its investigation. If you refuse to cooperate, your claim could be denied.

Making smart decisions about how to move forward with your claim, and making sure you document all damage, will go a long way toward a fast and smooth settlement of your claim. If you ever have any questions regarding your claim process, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We will be glad to help!