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6 Car Insurance Claim Mistakes You Can Avoid

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 07/05/2017

These 6 car insurance claim mistakes trip most people up.

When a car accident happens, making a mistake on what you need to do with your car insurance claim is the last thing that you want to do. Usually, your car insurance ID card has an accident checklist for you to follow at the time of the accident, but here are some other mistake to avoid making during the course of the car insurance claim itself.

Mistake #1: Failing to Get the Other Person’s Information

On your car insurance ID card, it should state to collect the other person’s information. If you fail to do this at the scene of the accident you are going to have to wait until you get the police report to be able to provide your insurance company with the other person’s information or to be able to file a claim with the other person’s insurance company. This can seriously delay a claim and even cost you money you wouldn’t have had to pay out if you had collected the information at the scene of the accident.

Mistake #2: Not Gathering Fault Information at the Scene of the Accident

Don’t just tell your insurance company that you weren’t at fault for the accident, show them. Take pictures of where the cars ended up, the damage, where the damage is, and the area around where the accident happened. Your claims adjuster or the other person’s claims adjuster will not be at the scene of the accident, so you have to show them the accident. Also, if at all possible call the police and have them file a report at the scene.

Mistake #3: Not Acting Timely on your Car Insurance Claim

Call your insurance company from the scene of the accident or call them when you get home, it doesn’t matter where just call them as soon as possible. You want to file that claim while the information is still fresh in your mind. Don’t let time go by and not get your claim in.

Mistake #4: Not Buying Enough Car Insurance Coverage

This is something that you need to take care of BEFORE your accident. Make sure you have enough coverage on your insurance policy to be able to adequately cover the damage you may accidentally do to another person or their property. Keep in mind that state minimum insurance is nowhere near enough to pay for a new vehicle that ends up being totaled or for serious medical bills. Anything not covered by your policy is paid for by you.

Also, make sure you can actually afford the deductible on your comprehensive or collision coverage.

Mistake #5: Being Pushed to a Body Shop

Yes, there are insurance approved body shops you could use, but you don’t have to and don’t let your car insurance company bully you into going to one of them. If you are interested in using one of their shops, get a list of the approved ones and do your own outside research to choose the one with the best reviews. If nothing else go with the body shop you usually use and trust with your vehicle.

Mistake #6: Low Ball Offers

If your vehicle is totaled by your insurance company or the other person’s car insurance company, don’t accept the first offer they make. Take the numbers and tell them you will think about it. Then do your own research into how much your vehicle is selling for at dealerships and with private sellers. Take that information, along with the Kelley Blue Book value and give a counter offer with the information you have gathered.

Always remember that you have hired your car insurance company and the other person has hired their car insurance company for protection in times like these, you have the control to get what you need from them within the limits of the car insurance policy you or the other person purchased.

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Michele Wilmonen

Michele’s first introduction to insurance was working for a major insurance company as a file clerk and a mailroom supervisor in a regional office. She learned insurance directly from underwriters and claims adjusters from questions and also watching them do their job. Since then, she’s earned a number of insurance certifications from the Insurance Institute of America and also a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho. She blogs at Car Insurance Guidebook.

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