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Dealing with Accident Claims

Every year in Canada, there are over 100,000 reported car accident cases. Many of these cause severe injuries and even fatalities. What should we do after a car accident? Research shows that most new drivers have no idea what to do after a car accident. Should we call the police, and how should we fill out a proof of lost report? Can a claim with insurance be made over the phone? Do you know how to report a car accident? 

These should be the questions drivers seek answers to. If this is you, read on.

When should you report a car accident to the police?

Depending on your local regulation, a police report is unnecessary in every car accident. However, there are three situations that you should. 

1) If any people were injured in the accident (because you never know what will happen to the people injured).

2) In most cases, damage exceeds $2,000 (It is easier to process insurance claims on high-value damages with support from a police statement)

3) You are the victim of a hit and run. If you think the other driver may be intoxicated, involved with a crime, or part of a fraud ring, call 911 immediately. 

Otherwise, move the vehicle to safety off the road if the car is driveable. If any of the above occurs to you, make sure you visit local police enforcement nearby and report the incident. You will be able to get a statement with a file number.

When Should you call the insurance company?

Please do not delay. Call your insurance company to report the car accident and let them process the claim as soon as possible. It is not only your responsibility, but you can also use your coverage on your policy. For example, suppose you have a rental car and trailer service. They should be included in your policy coverage if you want full coverage for your vehicle insurance. If needed, you can call your broker. They will have all the contact with the adjuster department, your policy number, and details on your policy. However, it may take some time to complete relaying the message, so the best advice is to go directly to the insurer if you already have the insurance detail.

Can Insurance Broker file my claim?

Your broker is licensed to deal with the public on insurance policy-relevant questions. When it comes to claims, you need to talk to a licensed adjuster and discuss all issues with claims. There are strict rules and guidelines where brokers cannot discuss a specific claim incident, such as the amount payout or influence the assessment by the adjuster. Due to privacy law, the adjuster will not talk to anyone else to discuss any claim. Do not expect your broker to cancel your insurance by themselves because you have no vehicle to drive.

What if I disagree with the assessment and want a fair value?

If you are frustrated about the proposed settlement by the adjuster, you can call the claims department. Should you need assistance, you can always escalate to the case manager. 

Can I fix my accident record? 

After any claim, the insurer will file a record of the incident. You can dispute by calling the insurer if you find out that they have recorded an at-fault claim on your history. It is critical to have a clean and continuous, accident-free history to get a good, low premium rate. 

Brokers cannot adjust these records, and your insurance rate must follow what it has on record. The claim record will stay no matter where you go in North America, so the sooner you clear that off, the better.

Ask the claim adjuster for a statement if you can. Once you have that clear confirming you are not at fault, your broker will forward them to the underwriting department to adjust your rate and policy. Without the supporting statement or adjustment, the broker must follow all claim history on record when quoting vehicle insurance.

Is there any way to escalate the car accident claim process?

Consider installing a dashcam in your vehicle. It will help describe the incident better to the adjuster. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. After making a phone call to report the incident, always ask for the adjuster's contact, email and claim number. A claim adjuster process hundreds of claim each day, and if you rely on someone to call you back, you may be disappointed. Email is the most effective way to communicate and escalate with the claim adjuster.