How To Report A Car Insurance Claim Online
It wasn't too long ago when filing an auto insurance claim meant calling your carrier and waiting an agonizing amount of time on hold to give your report to a claims representative.
Now, though, many insurers give you the option of providing your claim information online. This means you can file your claim at your convenience - at any time - without dealing with hold times or other phone annoyances. With some insurers, filing online is your only option.
Here's a primer on what you should expect if you file your claim online.
Begin Your Online Car Insurance Claim
The exact process for starting a claim differs with each carrier.
Some will direct you to a page where you'll need to enter your password and user name. Others allow you to bypass that step and identify yourself by entering your auto policy number, Social Security number, or some other unique manner of identifying yourself.
Then, it's just a matter of following the instructions provided by your insurer. Most companies make this task as easy to complete as possible, even for those who don't spend a lot of time online.
Information You Must Provide
Each insurer handles the information-gathering process in a different manner, but you should at least expect to provide the following types of information:
- Policy number (listed on your insurance card).
- Date of the accident.
- Location of the accident.
- Description of how the accident occurred.
- Name, address, license plate, and insurance information for the other party involved.
- Name of the police department involved (if applicable).
- Police report number (if applicable).
What Happens Next
After filing your online car insurance claim, your carrier will contact you to continue the process.
Depending on the type of claim and how your insurer handles claims, it may send a representative to inspect your car. Or, you may be asked to take your car to an insurer-approved repair shop for estimates, or to a shop of your choice.
If your provider approves your claim, you can schedule a time for the repairs to take place. Be aware that the other party's insurance company may call you and ask for information about the accident.
Ask Your Own Questions
Car insurance companies have made it easier to file and track a claim, but the process can still leave their customers with plenty of unanswered questions. If you're in doubt, ask your claims rep, customer service rep, or your insurance agent for more information.
And, don't be bashful about it. After all, this is why you pay your premiums for car insurance throughout the year: to provide some financial protection when you're in an accident. Keep in mind that while filing a claim may be a new process for you, it won't be for the person who's providing the answers.