Insurance Claims And The Length Of Time They May Take
The Daunting Task Of Filing
The first time you have to file an insurance claim can feel a bit intimidating, and that’s totally understandable. Getting into an accident, even one that’s not your fault, can stir up a whole list of emotions that won’t always make sense, so give yourself a minute to calm down and take stock of exactly what happened. You’ll want the information to be as clear and concise as possible, so that your insurance company is able to handle your claim efficiently, and for the other party’s insurance company as well. Remember, you have your insurance for a reason, and that reason is to protect you, and others, in case of any accident that occurs. Whether the accident is your fault, or the fault of someone else, it’s important to remember that your insurance is there for you to utilize. When you have something traumatic happen, which a car accident definitely falls under the umbrella of, don’t be afraid to use the tools you’ve put in place to make the aftermath of a traumatic event much easier to cope with.
What You Should Do
Here’s a list of things you should do, before, and during the filing of a claim:
- Collect as much information as possible about the accident. Take pictures of any damages caused to vehicles, property, or people. If signed statements are available, then get any witnesses to give you their signed testimony as to what they saw happen, and any people involved in the actual accident itself. Head to a doctor as soon as you can to have any possible injuries assessed. The sooner you can get a doctor on record, the more evidence you’ll have in your favor for a claim that might help you.
- Check for time limitations on making a claim. It differs from state to state how long you have to make a claim with your insurance company, so make sure to look up the standards that are set for your individual state. The longer you wait on any insurance claim, the more suspicious it will look to any insurance company, and may result in a longer investigation process.
- Make sure to file a police report after getting into an accident. This is an integral step in ensuring that you’re not blamed for the accident. Once a police officer is on the scene you’ll be able to file an official report that can be used as a point of record for all involved insurance companies. Having the word of an officer of the law to back up your claim will bode very well for you in any further investigations into your claim, and for any court proceedings should they become necessary.
- Don’t plead guilty to the accident. Let the insurance companies decide who was actually at fault once all of the information has been assessed. Professionals will be the in the best position to ascertain who was actually at fault, once they have all of the information regarding the accident.
Knowing The Types Of Claims
The following is a list of claim types for you to better understand what claims can be filed, and how quickly it may be answered.
- Glass repair claims are some of the most common claims made with auto insurance companies. Most of these claims can be handled within the week they are filed, offering you the ability to immediately schedule glass repair with a specialist. If the glass needing to be repaired requires the original equipment manufacturer, then it may take longer to get your claim sorted and your glass repaired.
- Physical damage to your car may take longer to get repaired, depending on how complicated the claim is that is being filed. An insurance adjuster will usually contact you within 3 days of your claim being filed, but if they need to assess damage on your car then it may take up to a week or more for them to see your car. If you’re willing to use an auto-body shop that’s approved by your insurance company, then often times the claim will be expedited. For claims made for physical damages to your car it will often take up to two weeks for the claim to be fully realized, and for the repairs to be made to your vehicle.
- Claiming your vehicle at a total loss will take a lot of paper work, and often take the longer to be approved. There are often state limitations on how long an insurance company has to fulfill their claims, but it’s best to have an expectation of at least 30 days, before a total loss claim will be fulfilled.
- Injury claims are the claims that take the longest to get fulfilled by insurance companies. This is often due to the fact that doctor’s reports will need to be filed, and the hospital and doctor will need to coordinate their reports with your insurance claims adjuster. If your healthcare provider filed their claim first then they will file their own claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
- Assistance for roadside help is in reference to towing claims. Insurance companies will often cover the cost of a towing claim without the insured paying anything out of pocket. If you do need to be reimbursed for any out of pocket expenses, then it may take up to two weeks for you to receive a check once your receipt has been turned in.
How Long Does An Insurance Claim Take?
It’s wishful thinking to assume that your insurance claims will be settled immediately, but here are some factors to consider, so that you can attempt to help expedite your claims.
- Coverage misunderstandings tend to be one of the biggest factors in slowing down an insurance, or even grinding it to a halt. Make sure you actually understand what your insurance covers in the case that you do get into an accident.
- Repair problems can slow an insurance claim down as well. If you get repairs and don’t end up liking how your car was fixed or repainted, then it’s best to explain that to your insurance company immediately.
- Lack of good communication will hinder your claim greatly. Make sure that you’re available for your claims adjuster to contact you, and that your contact information is up to date. The more ways your adjuster can reach you, will make it much easier to get your claim expedited.
- Claims involving a natural disaster will often take much longer than other claims due to the amount of them being made at one time. If your car was affected, then it’s most assured that many other cars in your community were as well.
- Lack of funds will hinder your claim as well. If you can’t pay your deductible, then you’ll need to hold off to get your car fixed.
Can You Speed Up The Process?
Yes, you can absolutely speed up the process of your insurance claim. At least, up to a point. If you have as much clear and concise information as possible to share with your claims-adjuster, then they’ll be able to process your claim that much faster. Follow all of the listed steps above, and watch out for the listed pitfalls, and you’ll be able to help expedite your insurance claims.