How To File An Auto Insurance Claim Online
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Auto accidents don’t always happen during business hours; that’s why doing business with a car insurance company that provides a variety of online services―such as filing auto insurance claims online―is so convenient.
The time immediately following an auto accident can be stressful. That’s why it’s important to review your policy and understand your coverage provider’s claims process before you’re faced with actually needing to put the knowledge to use.
If you’re not already aware of these steps, check with your provider for a complete list. Mark off what you covered, and get moving on what you didn’t.
You might think it would make more sense to gather this information after you know whether your provider allows you to file claims online, but really, even if it doesn’t, you’re still going to need this information.
Each car insurance company has it’s own requirements in place, but in general you’ll have to provide information about:
- Your auto insurance policy, such as your policy number.
- Your contact information.
- Details related to the accident, including the time, place, and location, as well as an account of what happened.
- Vehicle damage, including damage to any other vehicles involved, if applicable.
- Injuries sustained.
- Whether you filed a police report.
Now, determine whether you can file your claim online. Some car insurance companies allow policyholders to file online accident claims; others don’t.
If your company does, you then need to make sure it allows policyholders to file the kind of claim you need to file.
For example, some providers allow online filing for simple situations (say, you backed into a tree or were involved in a minor fender bender with another vehicle), but not for others.
Such exclusions might include:
- Serious auto accidents involving bodily injury.
- Damages caused by auto fire.
- Accidents involving two vehicles that you―the policyholder―own.
- Accidents involving a vehicle and other property that you―the policyholder―own.
Note that this isn’t a concrete list of exclusions―your provider may mandate some of them, all of them, or none of them. At the same time, your provider might have exclusions not listed here.
Before you begin filing your auto claim, make sure you understand which claims your provider allows and doesn’t allow policyholders to file online. This information should be listed on its website.
Because every company has its own claims filing process in place, it’s impossible to give you a list of exact steps for filing an auto insurance claim online; however, we can give you a list of general steps you can expect, no matter which company insures you.
Assuming you’re already on the website (you had to find out whether you could file your claim online, after all) and assuming you are able to file your particular claim online:
- Log into your account. If you don’t have an online account with your insurance company, you’ll need to set one up.
- Select the option to file an online auto claim. At this point, you may be reminded about which claims can and can’t be filed online.
- Follow the instructions provided, making sure to answer each question as accurately as you can.
- Write or print any final information you’re given. This might include a confirmation number, when you can expect to hear from a claims representative, or specific steps you should take once the online filing process is complete.
You’ll probably find out when you can expect to hear from your claims representative following completion of the online filing process. If you haven’t heard from anyone within that time period (usually anywhere from 24-48 hours), call your insurance company.
In the meantime, you can start preparing for how your provider might investigate the accident claim.
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