Getting money from a car accident claim is tough. Insurance companies have been known to downplay the amount of your accident damages, personal injuries, and even argue over how you say the auto accident happened. The end result is you feel frustrated and get significantly less than what you deserve from your insurance settlements.
Here are 3 simple ways you can prevent this and increase your car accident claim:
1. Take pictures
The first thing you should do is get lots of pictures of your car accident scene. Having lots of pictures from the crash site will clearly show the amount of your damages. If you have lots of pictures, the insurance company can’t deny the extent of your damages.
To increase your auto accident claim, you should take pictures of:
- Damages to both vehicles from the outside and inside.
- Pictures of road signs.
- Weather Conditions.
- Other drivers license plate and vehicle model.
- Road damages such as skid marks.
- Personal injuries or bruises.
- Positions of vehicles before they are moved.
You can also use the accident pictures to explain who caused your car crash. You can combine, a seemingly useless picture of which direction traffic was going, with a picture of your vehicle damage to show the point and speed of impact. You can then use this information to more vividly describe how your accident happened. Best of all, you story will now be backed up by proof.
The next thing you should do is…
2. Review Car Accident Report
The police report can be the most accurate source of information about your car accident. The report contains important information such as:
- Names and addresses of witnesses.
- Information about the other driver (e.g.: driver’s license number and auto insurance company.)
- Citations and traffic violations.
- A diagram and description of how the accident happened.
You should review a copy of the police report and see if it contains any helpful information. For example, is there anything in the description of the auto accident that shows the other driver was responsible your crash? Are there any witnesses that you weren’t aware of? You should thoroughly read through the accident report and see if it can help in your car accident claim.
The final thing you should do is…
3. Find Witnesses
Having a witness at the accident scene can really help your car accident claim. A witness can corroborate your story and give you more credibility. This is especially true if you are not related to the witness.
If there were witnesses to your car crash, you should get the following information:
- Address and/or cell phone number.
- Written statement of how the accident happened.
You should be aware that insurance companies have been known to contact witnesses independently to discuss the auto accident. They do this to plant false information in the witnesses mind and make them doubt what they remember about the accident. You should try to get a signed statement from your witnesses before the insurance companies speak with them. This way you can preserve the value of your witnesses.
These are some basic tips you can follow to increase your car accident claim. In order to further increase your accident insurance claims, you need to avoid making some common mistakes people make at the beginning of their accident settlements.
Car accident insurance claims can be a major hassle. We are initially left with the car that often needs an expensive tow, and then left to worry about the many details which must pull together. However, armed with a few tips and tricks, it’s possible to win the claim and shorten the time it takes to get it over with.
Immediately inform local law enforcement at the scene of the accident. Failing to do so is not only illegal, but if the other party decides to file a claim, you’ll have less of a case.
Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. The sooner you get the ball rolling, the sooner the process can be concluded. In addition, swift and accurate reporting benefits you.
Contact your agent to let them know what happened, even if you don’t make a claim. If someone else makes a claim on your policy, the insurance company will be less surprised, and may be more lenient in the future.
Use specific, factual information when speaking to law enforcement and your insurance agent.
Fully understand your insurance policy. Take a good look at it before talking to your insurer.
Maintain a careful record of conversations you have pertaining to the accident. This includes what the other party says, the police officer, and anyone at your insurance company.
Photograph any damage or injury that occurred as a result of the accident. This will serve as evidence to support your claim.
Do your estimate research. Your company is likely to offer a settlement based on their own contractors. However, the actual repair expense may be much more, in which case, you should negotiate the settlement.
Follow any guidelines set forth by your policy. This includes time limits on claims and required actions to take. Failing to adhere could result in the loss of the claim.
Ensure that your insurer is holding up their end of the deal. You have both signed a legally binding agreement, and if you feel they are in breach of contract, consult a lawyer.
Allocate blame or express opinions regarding the accident. If you claim fault prior to investigation, you will likely lose the claim. Even if fault seems obvious, there may be more factors at work, of which you are unaware. Leave opinions to the investigating officer and the insurance adjuster.
Leave without collecting insurance, automobile (or property), and contact information from the other party. If both parties have a complete set of facts, the process can proceed much more smoothly.
Make insurance claims on a regular basis. If you make too many claims in too short a time, you’ll be categorized as high risk. This can result in higher premiums or even a loss of your policy. Only make claims that are absolutely necessary.
File a claim if the damage is under your deductible. This will help decrease claim frequency.
Accept any payment, sign any legal documentation until you are fully prepared to do so. This means fully understanding the terms of the agreement. When in doubt, consult a legal professional.
Accept inferior service from the insurance company. It’s their job to insure you.
By being factually accurate, diligent in your record-keeping, and uncompromising with poor service, you can help achieve the settlement you desire. When making a car insurance claim, maximizing your knowledge is critical to your success.