What to do when you have an automobile claim:
- Promptly call the police if someone is injured, if there is property damage, if the accident was a hit and run or in case of theft.
- Provide necessary insurance identification to the police or other party in the accident.
- Collect the insurance identification from the other party, as well as name, address and phone number.
- Collect the name, address and phone number of any witnesses.
- Do not give statements to the other party. Provide information about the accident to law enforcement officials only.
- To protect your vehicle from further damage, turn your vehicle off, close doors and windows and stay with it if possible until it can be moved to a safe place or towed. Remove any valuables from your vehicle.
Auto Claims Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have a deductible?
Your auto and no fault claim may be subject to a deductible. Deductibles and coverage limits appear on the declarations page of your policy. If you are uncertain as to what your deductible is, please contact our claim department and we will be happy to answer your questions.
Can I get my car repaired where I want?
Yes, you may take your auto to be repaired to the shop or dealer of your choice. However, choosing a company designated repair shop will expedite your claim.
Can I get a replacement vehicle while my claim is being settled?
If you have rental reimbursement coverage, you will be entitled to the cost of a rental vehicle up to a designated daily amount for a specified amount of time.
What if my car is totaled?
A company appraiser will be assigned to inspect your vehicle. If the vehicle is determined to be a total loss, you will be offered the actual cash value of the vehicle based on the condition of the vehicle prior to the accident. A vehicle is generally declared a total loss if the cost to repair or replace the vehicle is greater than its actual cash value. You may retain the vehicle as salvage if desired, and the value of the salvage will be deducted from the settlement. Your vehicle will then be issued a salvage title, indicating it was declared a total loss by the insurance company. This prevents a future purchaser of the vehicle from unknowingly purchasing a damaged vehicle. If you choose not to retain the salvage, the insurance company will offer to take possession of the vehicle and dispose of the vehicle.
When will my car be fixed?
If your insurance company has a designated repair shop, taking your vehicle there will expedite your claim and avoid having to wait for an appraiser to inspect your vehicle. Designated repair shops are authorized by the company to begin repairs immediately and work directly with the company adjuster on your behalf. If you choose to use other than a designated repair shop, a company appraiser must inspect the vehicle and reach an agreed amount of the cost of repairs with your chosen auto body shop before repairs can begin.
What if my car is in a flood?
If you know the flood water level approached the center of your tires, or you drove through flood waters, you may have damage to your vehicle and should report it promptly. We suggest you try to avoid driving through fresh or salt water, and do not park your vehicle in low lying areas when flooding is forecasted.
What if the accident wasn’t my fault?
If you chose, your insurance company will pay your claim, and then will contact the other party’s insurance carrier to attempt to recover the monies they paid to you for your collision or comprehensive claim as well as your deductible. The time frame for recovering your deductible may vary. If your company is successful, you will be reimbursed all or a percentage of your deductible based on the negotiated settlement with the other party’s insurance company. If the other party did not have insurance, the company can, at their option, file suit against the responsible party. If they are successful, you will receive all or a percentage of your deductible again based on the negotiated settlement with the other party. You may also chose to contact the insurance company of the person you believe was at fault, however this may lengthen the time it takes to resolve your claim.
What if someone is hurt?
If you or a member of your household is injured in an auto accident or as a pedestrian, No-fault PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage under your policy applies. Either your PIP coverage or your health insurance company will respond first to any medical claims, depending upon your policy election. Your PIP coverage follows you, so it also responds if you are injured in a car as a driver, passenger or as a pedestrian.
What if I am sued?
Please report and forward any suit papers to our office as soon as you receive them. Not doing so may jeopardize coverage. The liability portion of your policy will respond to lawsuits.
How do claims affect my annual rates?
Claim factors that affect your rates are amount paid for a claim, your percentage of responsibility and the number of claims you have had in recent years. Please check with your account representative for how a particular claim will affect your policy.