Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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A car insurance claim is a claim for payment of damages from insured events. A policyholder or an injured party can file a car insurance claim as long as the damages were insured under the terms of coverage.

How do I file a car insurance claim?

This really depends on the type of claim and your particular car insurance company. Most claims are initially filed direct with the car insurance company and resolved in an efficient manner. However depending on the response of the insurance company there are many times when lawyers or other third parties need to get involved in order to have the claim satisfied. Filing a car insurance claim is pretty easy with most major car insurance companies offering some kind of online filing option however the more detailed a claim is the more benefit there is to get a traditional insurance claim form.

Does it cost money to file a car insurance claim?

No. Filing a car insurance claim is your right as a policyholder and there is never a fee for filing a claim. You pay car insurance premiums for coverage and filing a claim is simply a natural event as a policyholder. Should you have problems with an insurance company approving the claim then there most likely will be additional fees if you wish to retain third parties to help but even some car accident lawyers and insurance adjusters work on a contingency fee basis.

How long does it take process a car insurance claim?

Most claims submitted to reputable car insurance companies are handled fairly quickly especially if they just involve vehicle damage. However should a claim contain extensive medial costs, loss of wages and other issues this really depends on the details of your claim, your car insurance company and many other factors. Generally most claims in the auto insurance industry are handled fairly quickly.

Should I file a car insurance claim?

This is kind of like a trick question. On one hand you pay for coverage but on the other you risk higher car insurance rates after filing a claim. Making the choice to file a claim against a car insurance policy will depend on the details of your claim. Bigger claims obviously need to be filed but smaller damage can sometimes make a policyholder think about the benefits of filing especially if there is a large deductible. Imagine your policy has a $1,000 deductible and the amount of damage is $1,200 – you are only going to get $200 to cover the cost so is it worth risking higher rates? This is a very hard topic for anyone to give advice on since filing a car insurance claim really comes down to a personal choice for many drivers. You should always keep some record of the accident such as a police report and if you have concerns about litigation speak with your insurance provider about how long you have to file a claim.

Most auto insurance providers generally work quickly to satisfy claims but there are times when drivers will disagree with the insurance company’s opinion. It’s important to remember that you always have options to work out disagreements on vehicle repair costs or any part of a claim such as hiring an independent insurance adjuster or attorney. Sometimes even just a third part y estimate of the damage will cause the insurance company to increase the initial amount of the claim.

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