The Do’s And Don’t’s Of Reporting A Car Accident To Your Insurance Company
When you’ve been in a car accident it is extremely stressful, especially if you’ve been injured. Often when reporting a car accident to an insurance company, this stress can cause you to make mistakes during the reporting process that can cost you in the long run. In order to protect your best interests, you need to understand the best way to report an accident to your insurance company so if you have to seek compensation for your damages, you are covered. Here are the do’s and don’t’s of reporting a car accident to your insurance agent:
DO: Call your insurance agent as soon as the accident takes place. If you’ve gone to the hospital for any injuries, call them once you are safe and healthy enough to report the accident.
DON’T: Give them any written or recorded statements about the accident in the first phone call, simply report that you have been in an accident.
DO: Look over your policy and understand your coverages and exclusions. If you have any questions about your policy, do some research. Also, see if you have other coverage options from umbrella policies or credit cards.
DON’T: Speak to your agent about the details of the accident until you’ve reviewed your full policy.
DO: Keep detailed records of every conversation you have with your insurance agent including phone calls, emails, and in person. Make sure to keep all the information about all the people you speak with including their names, job titles, and contact information.
DON’T: Dispose of any evidence. Even a dented fender can help you with your claim.
DO: Be honest with your insurance company, even if you were in the wrong. Your claim may be dismissed if your insurance company finds out you were not honest about the accident.
DON’T: Volunteer any information. Simply answer their questions as directly and honestly as possible. Insurance companies will often use your statement against you to reduce the value of your claim.
DO: Understand the actual value of your claim. Understand the difference between replacement coverage and depreciated value, your deductibles, and the types of damages your insurance company will cover.
DON’T: Automatically accept their estimate of losses. Insurance companies often undervalue the costs of your damages. So make sure to always get a second opinion if you feel the value is unfair.
DO: Understand the time limits set by your policy and the state of Florida. If you wait too long to settle your claim, your coverage may lapse and you could be left with nothing. In Florida, you have four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.
DON’T: Accept an inadequate settlement because you are concerned about your bills piling up. If you accept too little you may experience relief in the short term, but the financial pressures will be greater in the long term.
DO: Read the fine print on any payment you receive from the insurance company.
DON’T: Accept any payment that says “final payment” unless you have received full and fair compensation for your injuries.
DO: Speak with a qualified personal injury attorney that specializes in settling car accident cases like the experts at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, & Walsh.
DON’T: Settle for any amount less than what you are owed. You have a legally binding contract with your insurance company and they have an obligation to pay you a fair amount for your car accident claim.
If you follow these do’s and don’t’s, you will be able to get a fair settlement from your insurance company. Just remember you do not have to do this alone, especially when you should be focusing on recovering from an injury. We’re here to help. We have over 100 years of collective experience negotiating fair insurance settlements with our clients in the state of Florida and can help guide you to keep the accident claims process stress free. So if you’ve been in an accident, contact us today to see how we can help.