Monday, 17 February 2014
How to Speed up your Car Insurance Claim – Tips for the Uninitiated, Dyman & Associates Insurance Group of Companies
Getting in trouble with your car is already a frustrating experience, filing for an insurance claim only to realize that it’d take time for processing and payments would only add to it. You don’t want to waste time. You obviously don’t want to run pillar to post when you could be doing better things with that time. The ideal situation – from an accident to claim disbursements – has everything to do with shortened turn around time. While most of the processing time depends on the auto insurance company, is there anything you could do to speed up this process?
There is. Here’s what you should do:
Don’t even get into it
Some accidents just happen and you really have no control over these occurrences. Most accidents, however, are based on human error. The fastest way to claims is to “not claim at all”. Either the accident should be minor and not require you to file a claim or you should avoid getting into situations that have nothing to do with claims (such as no accidents at all).
Drive responsibly. Avoid high-accident possibility scenarios such as rash driving, changing lanes without warning, over speeding, drunk driving, and not following traffic rules. Take public transport, if it’s feasible for you. Most people who get used to cars don’t realize that public transport is efficient, quick, and relatively safer.
If nothing works for you and a car is an absolute must, make sure you wear your seat belts.
If it has to be done, do what the insurers say (and quick)
Sometimes, following a process is the fastest way to get things done even if you don’t like it. Accidents aren’t fun either; you did get into one, didn’t you? The first step is to report the accident immediately and do exactly what the insurers ask you do. Don’t hatch any clever plans. Don’t bother taking it to a nearby mechanic. Don’t change anything about the scene, the car, or the situation. Report everything as is. The more truthful you are, the faster the outcome is. So admit it if it’s your fault. Insurance covers for your faults too.
Insurance claims will involve investigation, reports, and processes. You can help speed up these processes. The claims are valid only if the accident is recent or immediately.
Understand what car insurance companies do
The automobile insurance processes and as to how auto companies work can be baffling, and there’s no denying that. But that doesn’t mean you don’t bother to understand what goes on with the claims process at least since that’s where your money gets stuck.
It really helps if you understand the process, the investigation protocols, and how insurance companies resolve disputes on case-by-case basis. Each state has its own insurance rules and every insurance company has its own way of dealing with cases. Understanding the claims process generally is one thing; getting to the insides of your car’s insurance company is another.
Bridget Mintz of Edmunds.com has a post on how insurance companies work and it might help you to give it a quick read. More importantly, know your auto insurance company’s processes and ways of working.
The overall working of most insurance companies is, thankfully, more or less similar and it’ll help if you get to know that.
Do your “due diligence” on the spot
With a little planning and a proactive approach, you could almost half the time it takes for insurance companies to process your claims. You’d just have to think ahead. According to Kimberly Lankford of Kiplinger.com, it helps when you don’t just exchange information such as contact details with the other party involved in a skirmish or an accident.
Instead, go proactive and take pictures of both the cars (and personal damages instantly. The pictures should include the scene of the accident, the insurance card of the other driver, the actual state of the vehicles, the other drivers’ license plate, registration, and any other details you can get hold of. Grab some witnesses and record statements if you have to.
You’d do most of the work that’s necessary for faster approvals already.
Check with insurance companies and use tools for faster claims
Some auto insurance companies provide you with facilities to help you speed up the car insurance claim process. You could use mobile apps or mobile websites (if available) to upload the pictures and other information right from where you are at the accident scene.
There are other apps available such as Traveler’s auto accident app that can guide you through the steps that need to be taken by you (or by someone close to you) to document the accident properly.
The app also stamps the location, time, and date of the accident automatically. It helps you upload photographs on the scene. It allows you to access roadside assistance, record audio descriptions, and send all of this information to any email address.
Stephen Williams of NyTimes.com wrote a feature on smartphone apps for auto insurance claims, and notes apps that most automobile insurance companies have developed. Some companies he mentions are Liberty Mutual, Allstate Mobile, Geico Glovebox, State Farm Pocket Agent, and Progressive. Christopher Beck of Tech.co adds MetLife Infinity App and Goodride By AllState
Some apps even have information and facilities at your fingertips such as calling 911, car rentals and hotels nearby, and on tow-truck services nearby.
Staying diligent, methodical, prepared, and alert will help speed up your claims process (of course, these habits go a long way to help you generally, anyway). If it’s not about your life yet, it’s crucial that you get your claims processed as early as possible.
Some people can have crippled days just because of the unavailability of the car. If you find yourself in a situation like that, it’s best if you follow the process and let your insurance company handle the rest.