What do California drivers need when filing an insurance claim with their own insurance company?
California drivers involved in accidents should know which steps to take to boost their chances of having their claims approved.
While you hope to never have to make an insurance claim, big or small, accidents that are beyond our control happen. California drivers involved in auto accidents have to make sure they do their part to ensure their insurance claims are fully approved so they can get back on the road and take care of any medical costs they might incur as a result of the accident. Knowing what is needed when filing a claim can greatly increase the chances of the claim being accepted.
Act as soon as possible
The first thing to do after an accident that requires an insurance claim is act as soon as possible. Just like legal issues, time is of the essence when it comes to insurance matters. If you keep your insurance cards in your car and your vehicle is stolen, look on your policy documents and online for the number you need to call to start the claims process. Besides theft and an accident, other scenarios that require an insurance claim include vandalism and weather damage.
Have the right information
Having all the information necessary to file a claim also goes a long way in helping your claim. In most cases, you will need:
- The starting and ending date of your policy
- Your legal name
- Your policy number
- Pictures of the accident and the resulting damage
- The license plate and driver’s license numbers of all drivers involved in the accident
- The full names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone involved in the accident, including witnesses
Keep all this information handy and up-to-date until your claim has closed. While your insurance company will keep the details on file, it never hurts for you to have them on hand.
Get a police report
Depending on the severity of your accident, and particularly if you are injured, you may need to call the police and have them file a report, which you will also need for your claim. Besides the report, another reason to contact the police after an accident is so they can determine whether you should seek out medical care for your accident. Remember, police officers are called to auto accident scenes all the time, which means they have a better idea of how injured you are or might be.
Keep in touch with your claims adjuster
Once an adjuster is assigned to your case, make yourself easily available to him or her. Answer the phone, return correspondence as soon as possible and get your adjuster any information needed as quickly as you can. Know that adjusters commonly juggle several claims at once, and if you show you are someone who is easy to work with, your claim might take precedence. If you were injured and think your adjuster is not treating you fairly or is asking too much of you, it may be a good idea to contact a lawyer specializing in personal injury cases.
Even by following the above steps, there is a reasonable chance your California insurance company will dispute your claim. Should you feel your insurance company is giving you the runaround or is otherwise not behaving in a professional manner, be sure to reach out to a personal injury lawyer .