How to File an Auto Insurance Claim After a Car Accident

Few things are more upsetting than being involved in a car accident.

Hopefully you'll never be in a car accident and need to file an insurance claim. But if it does happen and you must file an auto insurance claim, you need to notify your broker or insurance company within seven days of the accident. If you don’t, your claim may not be honoured.

Here are some things to remember that will help make the claims-filing process easier:

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Call the Police

Always report a car accident to the police if someone is injured, if the damage to your vehicle is more than $2,000, or if you suspect a driver may be guilty of a criminal offence like drunk driving. You are also required to call the police if the accident involves a pedestrian or cyclist, a government vehicle, an uninsured or unlicensed driver or if there is damage to private or public property.

Get the Details

Take notes at the scene that include details of the accident, including where and when it happened, the names and driver’s licence numbers of all drivers involved, a description of the vehicles and the licence plate numbers, and take pictures of the scene if possible. Did the accident occur in poor weather conditions? Be sure to include that detail as well.

When filing your claim, you will need to provide your insurance policy number, a description of the accident, and the name and badge number of the investigating officer if the accident was reported to the police.

Move Your Vehicle

If it is possible to do so safely, move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic.

Don’t Assume Liability

Do not take responsibility for the accident at the scene or assume you are liable. Don't accept money or fault, and don't agree to forget about the accident.

Talk to Your Insurer

If your vehicle requires repairs, ask your insurance company if they have a list of preferred repair shops in your area. Sometimes insurance companies have partnerships in place with repair shops that make processing the claim and getting your car repaired faster. Make sure that your insurance company agrees to pay for all repairs before you have the work completed and find out how your insurer handles supplemental repairs in case the repair shop finds more damage to your car than what the original estimate states.

Check All Repairs

After your vehicle is fixed up, take the time at the auto shop to inspect the repair work, and get a receipt from the shop that details all the work they completed. Make sure that name and address of the shop are clearly identified on the receipt. You might need to submit the final bill to your insurer.

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