Filing an auto insurance claim with your carrier is never a fun experience, but we hope to make it a little easier with a few tips.
While a top-rated provider will help make the process as painless as possible, the act of filing a claim means that something has disrupted your life and your means of transportation. An auto accident is one thing, but storms can bring a ton of other factors that can complicate your process and hinder your claim. Staying insured by the right insurance carrier can help limit your complications, however, there are plenty of other tips and tricks owners can do to help make the filing experience a smoother one.
Document the Damage from Varying Angles & Depths of Detail
Documentation is going to be crucial to any claim and when it comes to your auto insurance, you will want to capture several photos that range in detail depth. Luckily, with modern devices such as a smartphone, everything you need is in the palm of your hand. Our advice is to start broad and capture the whole picture. Make sure to show the full scene where the incident occurred including where your car is parked and what the surroundings are. Then make your way to more detailed photos by taking close-ups of the specific damage. Make sure the damage is clear! It may be useful to hold a common object like a coin in the picture for reference of size. Another way to make photos clearer is to add labels such as “driver side”, etc so there is no way for confusion when insurance looks at the photos. Don’t forget to check the interior and to capture any personal belongings that would be covered too. This is a situation where it is better to have too many photos and sort through them later than to not have enough.
Contact Your Insurance Provider Immediately
In a post-storm environment it can be difficult to communicate due to a lack of electricity or networks being down due to the storm or congestion, but the sooner you notify your insurer, the better. Have your documentation ready (including your driver’s license and insurance policy number!) and prepare for potentially longer wait times for your call.
Retain Your Personal Property- Even If It’s Destroyed
A common thought is that if the contents within your automobile are damaged by debris or rain or wind they are no longer worth keeping, but until your claim is settled you should retain your personal property that was in the vehicle. Adjusters will need to see everything that is damaged and while keeping a documented history is a great thing to do, having the items on hand for the insurance company to assess will help you get more from your claim. If an item is covered by your policy, you will want to retain it to have it covered and it is best practice to keep all items until the process is complete.
Document Your Claims Process
As important as it is to take note of a fallen tree or water lines from flooding as part of your claim, it is also important to document the actual process of making a claim. Be sure to take down the information of who you speak with, the date, what was discussed, and any other important, relevant information that could be helpful to recall at a later date. Agent numbers, names, dollars amounts discussed, etc. are a great place to start.
Speak to Your Provider About Preferred Repair Shops
Going to your trusted mechanic may be a go-to solution when getting auto repairs but when going through insurance this can sometimes only complicate things. In most cases, insurance companies partner with reputable repair shops; oftentimes, you will find that going through one of their preferred shops will make the process simpler and quicker. This can be particularly handy during the aftermath of a storm where there may be many vehicles in need of repair. Be sure to continue your documentation with this step of your claims by keeping track of estimates, receipts, and what gets repaired on your vehicle.
Enroll With a Top-Rated Insurance Provider Before Disaster Strikes
There are several ways to protect your vehicle ahead of a storm and tips for filing an auto insurance claim smoother but the best way is to enroll with a reputable auto insurance company from the beginning. TGS Insurance works with a variety of providers to help customers find the right auto insurance coverage for their lifestyle and budget. Storm surges may rise, wind may carry, and floods may come but the team at TGS Insurance will be there for you every step of the way to make sure your claim is processed as smoothly as possible.