UPDATED: Sep 3, 2020
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If you’re reading this right now, it’s likely that you’ve already been in an accident and you’re struggling to figure out how long it’s going to take — and how expensive it’s going to be — to get your vehicle repaired and back in your driveway so that you can resume a normal life. Unfortunately, as with all things insurance, there’s going to be some hoops to jump through, some red tape to cut, some T’s to cross, and some I’s to dot.
But if you educate yourself on how the process works, and understand your auto insurance coverage options, it can drastically help speed things along. Below, we’ll let you know exactly how your insurance company will manage your claim. We’ll also give you some tips on how to make the experience faster, easier, and more affordable for you.
One of the best ways to deal with an accident is to make sure you understand your coverage before an accident occurs. If you need to compare rates, use our FREE auto insurance comparison tool now.
Be Prepared Before the Accident Happens
For some of the drivers reading this right now, it may be a little too late. But if you get into another accident, it’ll be helpful to know this information in advance. For everyone else, take notes; because if you don’t follow the steps below, it can slow down the amount of time it takes for you to file your claim, get your vehicle repaired, and get back to your normal life.
For any accident — even if it’s only a minor one with cosmetic damage to the vehicles and no physical injuries to the drivers — try as best you can to get your cars away from traffic and contact local law enforcement. Filing a police report immediately after the accident is the best way to get the documentation you need to file your claim quickly and get it approved by your insurance company. If your claim gets denied for any reason, you’ll likely end up paying for repairs or a new vehicle completely out of pocket.
Next, be proactive with the claims adjuster who is assigned to your case. Also, although this should go without saying, be as pleasant and polite as you can. Claims adjusters are usually overloaded with casework on any given day, and many of the drivers they have to interact with are upset and frustrated about the confusing and convoluted claims adjustment process. So the easier you make their job, the easier they will make your case resolution. Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates. Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
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So the accident happened, you filed your claim, your insurance company approved your claim, and you’re about to start the process of getting your vehicle repaired. Although one would hope it’s as simple as driving to the nearest body shop and letting your insurance take care of the rest, it’s, unfortunately, a little more complicated than that.
For starters, before your insurance does anything, you have to pay your deductible. Depending on whether the accident was with another vehicle or stationary object, or an act of nature or vandalism, determines whether your repairs will be funded by your collision or your comprehensive coverage, respectively.
Regardless, most insurance companies will assign the exact same dollar amount to the deductible of each form of coverage. Deductibles for collision and comprehensive usually range somewhere between $250 to $1,000. But for most drivers, the average deductible is about $500. Of course, if you have neither collision nor comprehensive coverage on your insurance policy before the accident, then you won’t have to worry about paying a deductible — because you’ll be paying for the repairs to your vehicle 100 percent out of pocket.