Being involved in an automobile accident is not only scary, but it can also end up costing you a significant amount of money in towing and repair costs. If you are like many other people, your initial thought is that you pay your insurance premiums, so the insurance company is responsible for the costs. When you are in an accident, it is essential that you handle your insurance claims correctly-if not, you may be held liable for the damages to your vehicle as well as any other vehicles involved in the accident.
Know Your Auto Insurance Policy
One of the first and most important things you should do (before you are in an accident) is thoroughly read your insurance policy. The policy will provide you with a great deal of information regarding how to handle an accident claim, including how much time you have following an accident to file a claim and what you should and should not do in regards to your vehicle.
After the Accident
If at all possible, take photos of the accident site, including all vehicles involved, the damages and the area in which the accident occurred. This information could become extremely valuable, especially if the other party doesn't have auto insurance or your claim to your insurance provider is denied. As soon as you have a chance, call your insurance provider and let them know you were in an accident. In most situations, the insurance provider will send a claims adjuster to evaluate the damages to the vehicle. Be prepared to submit any paperwork to the insurance provider, such as body shop estimates, hospital bills, towing charges, and/or police reports.
Reasons for Rejected Claims
Fortunately, many insurance providers are helpful and understanding when they are dealing with auto accident claims. However, there are several situations you should be aware of that may prevent your insurance provider from paying your claim, including:
- Submitting a claim outside of the stipulated time-frame: It's best to submit your claim as soon as possible after an accident.
- Driving under the influence: If you were driving under the influence when the accident occurred, not only are you breaking the law, but your insurance company can and often will refuse to cover any damages to your vehicle.
- Using your vehicle for commercial use: If your insurance coverage is for private use and you crash your car while using it to carry passengers or goods for commercial purposes, your insurance provider may reject your claim. The policies for private and commercial use are significantly different.
- Driving without a valid license: If you or anyone else is driving your vehicle without a valid driver's license at the time of an accident, your insurance policy will generally become null and void. It is legally your responsibility to ensure your driver's license is valid anytime you operate a motor vehicle and most, if not all insurance policies will clearly state you must be a licensed driver for coverage to be valid.
- Getting a jump start on the repairs: As anxious as you may be to get the repairs done on your vehicle, if you begin the repairs before the adjuster has evaluated the damages, the insurance company will not be able to provide an estimate based on the original degree of damages. So, you claim will generally be rejected.
- The insurance policy doesn't match the owner of the vehicle: If you buy a vehicle and purchase your insurance policy, but fail to transfer the vehicle into your name before an accident occurs, your insurance company has the right to refuse the accident claim, because, the policy is not in the name of the vehicle owner.
If you intend on driving an automobile, keep in mind that it is your responsibility to maintain a valid driver's license and to maintain an auto insurance policy for at least the minimum coverage required in your state. If you have any questions or concerns about your auto insurance, it is highly recommended that you contact your insurance agent for clarification. Knowing what your insurance policy will and will not cover in an accident can be to your benefit if you get in a car accident.
Check out a website like http://www.coastcompins.com for more information and assistance.