How to File an Insurance Claim on Your Car

Updated May 3, 2024  |   Published February 8, 2023

We know that accidents happen sometimes. Often, it’s not even your fault. Insurance companies are always here to help in the event of an accident, from the time that you file your claim until the moment that a settlement is reached and you are compensated for your losses. Here are some steps and useful tips on how you can file a car insurance claim.

 

Why would I file a claim on my car?

First off, let’s start with some reasons that you may file a claim on your car:

  • You put a dent in someone’s car
  • You’re the cause of serious damage to someone else’s car
  • You’re at fault in a car accident that caused injuries
  • You accidentally cause a lot of damage to your own car

It’s always a good idea to contact your insurance agent to figure out whether you want to file a claim or not. At WebFirst Insurance, our agents will help you determine whether filing a claim is really worth your time and effort based on your losses or potential losses. We recommend that you always contact your insurance provider if the other party involved asks to settle it privately with cash.

 

How do I file a car insurance claim?

There are a couple ways that you can file a claim at WebFirst Insurance:

  1. Contact one of our agents over the phone. They will collect information from you and transfer you to the claims department of the insurance company your policy is with.
  2. Visit our Claims page to find your carrier’s contact information and reach out to them directly. Usually they will have a phone number listed. Some companies also have forms to file a claim on their website.

 

What happens after I initially file the claim?

After you file a claim, the insurance company will send out an adjuster to inspect the damage done to your car. The adjuster will determine what repairs will be covered under your policy. For example, if you don’t have collision coverage, the amount that is covered under your policy would be very different than if you had it.

If your policy covers it, you may be offered a rental car while your car is being repaired. The insurance company will work with the rental company to cover payment of the rental car. You may be asked for your credit card information by the rental company, but you won’t be charged.

After assessing the damage, the adjuster will analyze and determine the appropriate amount for you to be compensated. If the car is considered a total loss, the adjuster will reach out to you with an amount to compensate you for the loss, and you can either accept it or deny it. If you choose to accept it, you will be sent a check to deposit in compensation for your losses.

The process is slightly different for a partial loss. After agreeing upon the price of repairs, the insurance company works with the repair shop where your car is being fixed to in order to make a payment for the repairs being done.

 

 

Will my car insurance premium go up after I file a claim?

When it comes to evaluating your driving record for the purposes of reassessing your insurance rates, practices vary slightly across the industry. In general, when you make a claim against your insurance policy above a specific amount in the case that an accident is primarily your fault, an insurer will increase your rates. The amounts, percentages, and ceilings of these increases vary from company to company. These increases generally stay on your premium for three years following the claim. It’s also important to note that some types of accidents or infractions are worse than others. For example: a drunk driving incident is likely to trigger a nonrenewal from virtually every insurance company, but something like a fender bender most likely won’t.

If you’re reluctant to file an auto insurance claim because you fear that your policy premium will go up, understand that you’re taking a risk by not reporting the incident. If anyone were to sue you weeks or months later, not having reported the incident will make the process much more difficult. Additionally, if you don’t report it in a timely manner, the insurance provider has the right to refuse to honor the policy altogether. That being said, after you file your claim, you can decide you don’t want the cost of your car repairs to go against your insurance deductible to prevent your rates from increasing. You don’t have to cash the check issued for your losses, and thus the claim won’t affect your rate. We recommend that you always report an accident, because it mitigates our own risk, and there are still ways to prevent your rates from going up.