5 Steps to Filing an Auto Insurance Claim Smoothly
Accidents are not uncommon on Maryland’s roadways. If you happen to find yourself involved in a crash, you may need to file a claim with your insurance company. This may be the last thing on your mind, especially if you’re dealing with injuries; however, it’s crucial to understand how to file an auto insurance claim so you can expedite the process and restore order in your life as quickly as possible.
An auto insurance claim is a request for compensation in accordance with your policy. While some individuals are lucky enough to have insurance companies that are easy to work with, others could run into issues with fine print in their contract or an insurance company that is unwilling to work with them. There are steps you can take to smoothly file a claim, so you can get your vehicle repaired and focus on your recovery.
Understand Your Policy
It’s crucial to understand your auto insurance policy in the event you are even in a crash, so you don’t have to scramble if you find yourself dealing with the ramifications of one. You’ll want to fully understand the coverage you have. In Maryland, you are legally required to have the following forms of coverage: bodily injury liability coverage, property damage liability coverage, uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, uninsured motorist property damage coverage, and personal injury protection.
It’s also important to understand your deductible. This is the amount you will owe before your insurance company covers the remainder. If your vehicle cannot be driven after an accident, you’ll also want to know about your rental car policy and what your options are.
Document the Details of the Accident
Following a crash, you’ll benefit from documenting certain pieces of information. Because of the stress related to accidents, it could be difficult to recall what happened later, which is why keeping track of it can help you with you claim.
First off, you’ll want to exchange information with the other driver. This includes contact information, insurance information, license plate numbers, and driver’s license numbers. You’ll also want to take photographs of the accident scene and any injuries you think you’ve sustained. If there are witnesses around, you’ll want to get their contact information because they may be able to give more insight as to what happened at a later time. If the police have been called, insist on a report being filled out, as insurance companies often require this as proof the accident happened.
Determine Whether or Not You Need to Make a Claim
There are some situations where filing a claim may be more hassle than it’s worth. If the property damage is minor and you did not sustain any injuries, filing a claim could unnecessarily complicate your situation. If you call your insurance company to inquire about filing and discuss the accident, that information could end up on your record even if you don’t file a claim.
Also, if you believe you can safely pay for the damage caused by a minor accident, consider doing just that and taking care of the damage yourself. This will prevent your insurance rates going up, and you won’t have to go through the hassle of waiting for compensation to get your vehicle fixed.
Contact a Lawyer
If, based on your situation, you do need to file a claim, you may find you’ll benefit from getting in touch with an experienced law firm. If your accident results in serious property damage, catastrophic injuries, or fatalities, conversing with insurance companies can be difficult. You may also face situations where your insurer may offer you a settlement amount that’s too low or seems unfair considering the injuries you’re sustained. Additionally, the issue of liability may be unresolved. These are the situations where speaking to a lawyer may be the most beneficial.
File Your Claim as Soon as Possible
Once you and your attorney have gathered the necessary information, it’s crucial to file the claim as soon as possible. If the claim is simple and compensation is due, filing quickly will ensure you receive the award you need within a decent amount of time. If you learn further legal action will need to be taken, you’ll likely be dealing with a statute of limitations, which limits the time you have to present your case. The sooner you know what your next steps need to be, the better.
If you’ve been in an accident you believe resulted from the negligent actions or inactions of another party, getting in touch with an attorney in Baltimore can help you hold that party accountable for what you’ve been through. To learn more about your legal rights and options after an automobile collision, contact our law firm for a free initial consultation.