10 Mistakes to Avoid When Making a Car Insurance Claim and Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Car Insurance
IRVINE, California. Car insurance can be expensive. You pay for your policy to protect you in the event of an accident. When an accident does take place, it is important that you make a claim as soon as possible so that you get the recovery you may deserve under the law. However, car insurance policies can be complex and come with a great deal of fine print. Who, after all, has the time to read a multi-page policy? However, waiting until an accident takes place to understand your policy can be a big mistake. Here are ten mistakes to avoid when purchasing car insurance and when making a claim after an accident:
- Don’t wait until an accident takes place to read your policy. It is important to know what you are paying for before you need to make a claim. Not all car insurance policies will cover all damages sustained in an accident. It is wise to know your policy’s limits, and deductibles, and to plan ahead for costs that may not be covered.
- You may not want to go with the minimum coverage. Most states’ requirements for minimum coverage won’t cover the average cost of injuries or damages should you be involved in a serious accident. According to Consumer Reports, the average cost of medical expenses can be $22,000, but the higher average is $69,000. You might want to consider buying coverage that protects you up to $100,000 for bodily injury coverage to avoid out of pocket expenses. However, individuals with a higher net worth should consider more robust insurance.
- Do the math before paying for comprehensive coverage. According to Consumer Reports, if your yearly premium exceeds ten percent of the value of your car, you may not need comprehensive coverage. However, if you have a brand new car or own a high-value car, comprehensive coverage may be wise.
- Get uninsured motorist coverage. As many as 14 percent of drivers may not have insurance. If you get into an accident with one of them, you’ll want uninsured motorist coverage to protect yourself.
- Know your company. According to the Insurance Information Institute, many consumers shop around for insurance based on cost alone. However, the reduction in costs might cost you down the line when it comes to customer service and getting a claim handled. Do your research into a company before going with the cheapest option.
- When making an insurance claim, know your rights. Your insurance adjuster is required to handle your claim in good faith. However, your adjuster may also try to save the insurance company money by offering you the lowest possible legal settlement permitted under the law. Understand your policy, review the true cost of damages to your vehicle, and understand the true blue book value of your car. If the amount of money your insurance adjuster offers doesn’t seem right, you may want to speak to an insurance claim lawyer.
- Check for mistakes when making a claim. According to S. News & World Report, insurance companies and adjusters can make mistakes. If you don’t catch these mistakes when they happen, it can cost you money if you accept a lower amount of money than you deserve. Double check the insurance adjuster’s reasoning for his or her claim. Make sure that the information is accurate.
- Document everything. Take photos of the damage. Make a police report. Keep all receipts and medical bills. Your insurance adjuster may try to get you to make a spoken statement over the phone, but you have the right to ask that everything be done in writing. You can ask your adjuster to communicate with you via email or snail mail. This has the added benefit of a paper trail. If you have a problem with your claim later, your insurance claim lawyer will then have an easier time tracing what went wrong.
- Understand that anything you say can be used in your claim. Even a seemingly benign statement can hurt your claim. For example, if you tell your insurance adjuster that you are going to pick your children from school and can’t talk, this might be used against you later if you are trying to make a medical claim for injuries or rehabilitative services. Stick to email. Stick to the facts. And, if you have been seriously injured, you may want to speak to an insurance claims attorney to help you with the process.
- File your claim in a timely manner. Don’t delay in calling your insurance company after an accident.
If you’ve been in an accident, the insurance claims process can be stressful and confusing. However, you don’t have to negotiate the process alone. Visit USAttorneys.com to speak to and connect with insurance claims lawyers in your area.