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How to handle a car accident claim

car accident
car accident
Car accident photo credit: Flickr.com/wheatfields

A few days ago, I discussed my experiences with my car accident claim with the insurance company in my Quick Tip. Today, I will expand on this a bit to provide a few more details on what you should consider doing in the aftermath of your accident. For starters, you need to be detailed, and, you need to be prepared to be patient.I am a pretty detailed and organized person, but from my experience with a LARGE UNNAMED INSURANCE COMPANY, I have had to raise my game a bit here. Last year, I discussed what you need to collect at the accident scene (if you are able), but what you do afterwards is almost, if not more so, just as important. You need to document everything that happens in the aftermath of the car accident. This means documenting any post-accident damage repair to your car (if it is even salvageable), hospital and doctor visits, and any other related expenses, such as a car rental. Why is this necessary? For several reasons, primary being that you need detailed accounting for reimbursement. Secondary, for quantifying the total amount that you need to show the responsible party as part of any potential compensation claim. Here is the patience part of the claim: you file a claim and it may be weeks or months before you get reimbursed (in my experience).

On the podcast, I mentioned that using a cloud-based spreadsheet document manager, such as Google Docs, is really helpful for managing your claim information. You might be at work and get a call from your insurance agent and you need to pull up information really quickly – this is a great time to have all of your car accident information handy. Rather than having to call them back and further delaying the process, you can handle the business right then. An on-line file manager can also be a great place to keep your scanned receipts.

An accident is no fun for anyone, but you need to be armed and prepared to ensure that you don’t also have to feel the pain of the inevitable paperwork that will come with such an event.