First, there should be enough data about everyone who has involvement in the accident. A complete information makes everything quicker, and it allows for more satisfactory closure as well.
Once an accident occurs, the first thing to do is to let your insurance provider know about it. Call your independent agents or the company and provide as many details as possible. Get out of the vehicle and start writing down the other party’s name, license number, the model of the car, and contact information. Do not forget to ask for the person’s insurance information, too. If the accident involves more than two drivers, keep the same records of all of them.
Time and location of the accident are important, and this is why a dashcam is useful. Modern cameras record and save not only video footage but also GPS data. You can use the video as evidence. Some claims are not straightforward enough, so it is necessary to get all the data you can to avoid problems afterward. Photos and videos are undeniable records in this case. Even if you do not have a dashcam, use the phone camera to take pictures of the license number, damages on vehicles, and recognizable landmarks near the location if possible. Police officers on the scene can help develop stronger claims. Write down their badge numbers and names. Witnesses can help support the facts, too. Medical personnel should arrive if someone (or one of the witnesses) calls for emergency service and you need to write down that information as well.
File the Claims
As soon as you file the claim to the insurer via phone or through an independent agent, the company begins its involvement. Methods to handle claims can be different from carrier to carrier, but the essentials are quite standard. Drivers only see parts of the process because some negotiations and reimbursements are all behind the scenes. In the claim, you must provide many details as follows:
· Name and insurance policy number.
· Owner of the car if you drive someone else’s vehicle
· Make, model, and year of the car along with license plate number
· Date, time, and location of the accident
· Injuries and damages as results of the accident
· Passengers (if any)
· Description of how the accident happened
· Badge number of police officers who investigated the event
· All information you can get from the other drivers and their cars
As the claim makes it to the provider’s database, claims adjustor will be your contact who also handles most of the investigation. A team works for the adjustor to look at medical reports, speak with witnesses, investigate the scene, examine damages, manage repairs and medical treatments, and determine fault. Every situation is different, so there is no standard on how long the process will take.
Vehicle repairs and medical treatments start right away while the adjusters work to compile reports. Each driver’s insurance company covers its policyholders’ medical cost and property damage; this is the indemnification process. After policyholders get their payouts, the adjusters assess fault and seek reimbursement from the other insurers.
The method to determine who is at fault in any road accident is not a simple matter. Many assume that liability laws govern everything, but they only dictate how much to collect and who is eligible for compensation. Fault determination is all up to the carriers. In states that implement the no-fault regulation, every insurer pays for its clients. In all other states, there is subrogation method. Subrogation is a substitution of one creditor to the other. When road incident takes place, an insurer pays for medical treatments and property damage for its client. However, since another party plays a role in the accident, the insurer seeks for reimbursement from the other party’s provider. In the end, the at-fault driver’s insurance company still pays for compensation. Fault assessment and subrogation happen behind the scene.
The Case with Uninsured and Underinsured
Most of the procedures do not change much when the case involved either uninsured or underinsured driver. If an uninsured hits you and causes injuries as well as property damages, your insurance provider pays all the compensation. After the payments, the carrier seeks for the uninsured to get reimbursement. The only difference is that there is no other company in the scene, so the process can be easier and quicker because fault assessment is less complicated. Coverage for uninsured is an optional purchase in the policy, so you need to have one to get the payment.
Every state has different requirements for minimum liability coverage, so the threshold for underinsured can be different, too. Virginia and New Hampshire are the only states that do not require liability insurance, but the latter makes it compulsory for drivers to set aside funds in case of accidents. When a road incident involves underinsured driver, insurers often distributes the compensations. For example, the compensations for $10,000 worth of damage come from both providers whose drivers had a car crash. Percentage of payment is both companies’ decision. Let us say the payment is 60/40, so the underinsured driver’s company pays $6,000, and another pays $4,000. An underinsured driver will then have to pay $4,000 out of his/her money to compensate the other company.