Three Stages in the Auto Insurance Claim Process

Most insured drivers feel stressed and confused in the first few hours or days after a car accident. Many drivers yearn for someone who can take care of the whole process. A good insurance adjuster can offer sound advice, expertise and a calm environment.

Each insured driver who is in an auto accident should be aware that the majority of insurance companies review six elements of evidence and that there are three stages to filing an auto insurance claim.

1. What the insured tells us, the insurance company The perception of the other driver about the accident
3. What the police report says happened
4. Eye witnesses testimony
5. The physical damage to the scene
6. Medical records to treat any injuries

Your insured’s handling of an auto accident will make a difference in ensuring a fair and quick resolution.

Stage 1 – At the Accident Scene
The accident scene dynamics are often more important than the involvement of the adjuster and are more susceptible to being influenced by the police or the insurance agent. First, report the accident. If possible, the insured driver should call their insurance company to report the accident. This First Notice of Loss (FNOL), will establish the proper coverage, extent of damage and liability.

Stage 2 – Immediate Follow up – Gathering the facts
The best thing for an insured is to take down as much information as possible about the accident, including the exact time, whereabouts, speed, and other details.

An adjuster will advise the insured, once the accident has been reported to insurance companies. They will also inform the insured when they will be visiting the vehicle to assess the damage. The insured should also be informed if there is a direct repair program offered by the insurance company you represent and how it works.

It is a great time to photograph the auto damaged from different angles. Also, take photos of their passengers and any injuries.

Stage 3 – Management & Settlement Resolution
These items will help you create a seamless workflow, from an accident to a resolution.

* Request that the insured keep a journal detailing injuries, pain levels and any medical treatment.

It is a good idea to keep track of all travel expenses, including to and from medical appointments. Also, it is a smart thing to keep all receipts (including prescriptions and co-payments) for medical purposes.

It is important to document any time lost from work due to injuries. Also, remind the insured to share any correspondence, receipts, and documentation with an adjuster.

After you have reviewed the incident, and are ready to offer a settlement to the insured, you should detail how you arrived at the proposed amount, what it includes, and invite questions from them about any remaining items.

If you cannot agree on a settlement, inform the insured driver that they have the option to file for arbitration or take legal action.

There are more than 220,000,000 cars on the roads, so it is likely that an insured driver will be in an accident. The unexpected can be stressful and cause anxiety. An insurance adjuster can be a valuable ally in the initial aftermath of an auto collision. They can help the insured understand the steps of the claims process, as well as the correct steps to take to minimize stress and confusion.

These are three important tips to help an adjuster be seen as a solution and not an adversary in a seemingly overwhelming problem:

1. You must be a calm influence, not an adversary, and show empathy for the insured’s situation. This includes emotional stress and medical injuries. Also, you need to outline the steps you will take to help the insured reach a solution.
2. A weekly check-in by an adjuster to monitor vehicle repairs, rental replacements, and medical treatment will ensure that you have the best chance of achieving amicable closure.
3. It is important to communicate with your insured throughout the claims and settlement process. This will help instill confidence that you are working towards a fair and reasonable result.