The proper procedure to follow when filing an automobile insurance claim is:
- Keep in your car your insurer's claim service card with your agent's name and phone number, and your policy identification number.
- Your insurance company may offer a pamphlet outlining their preferred filing procedures. Ask your agent if such information is available. Store a copy in your glove compartment as a reminder of the information the company requires. Also, be familiar with your company's policy regarding qualified repair shops and pre-inspections.
- If an accident should occur, follow these tips to protect yourself and ease the claim-filing process:
- Notify the police immediately. Get the police officer's name and badge number and the address and phone number of the police station. Ask the officer when the accident report will be filed and how you can obtain a copy.
- Make sure you get the name of the other driver, his or her address, work and home telephone numbers; vehicle license plate number and state; insurance company name and policy number and the telephone number of his or her insurance agent. Also, obtain the names and addresses of all passengers and witnesses.
- Don't discuss the specifics of the accident with other drivers, witnesses or passengers. Don't make any oral or written statements as to responsibility or blame.
- Don't tell others involved in the accident how much liability insurance you carry.
- Make notes describing the accident, the vehicles involved, their approximate speeds, the setting, the weather, the traffic signs and signals, and the road conditions. Take photographs if possible; or draw simple diagrams of the roads and the accident. Be sure to note the exact place the vehicles collided.
- Notify your insurance company or agent as soon as possible after the accident, even if you're far from home and even if someone else caused the accident. Review with your agent how to proceed and what forms or documents will be needed to support your claim.