March 1, 2024

Navigating Auto Insurance Claims: A Step-by-Step Guide

Dealing with the fallout of a car accident can be time-consuming and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Many people refrain from filing a claim after an accident because they aren’t sure exactly what to do. We’ve composed a step-by-step guide to help you receive the support and repairs you need after an accident.

What is an Auto Insurance Claim?

An auto insurance claim is a report made to your insurance provider after you have dealt with damage or loss in an accident. If you believe your insurance policy can cover the damages, you can seek help from your provider, who can assess the claim.

Depending on the type of policy you have, your insurance provider will be able to give you an answer as to whether or not you are covered. If you are, you could receive a financial payout.

When Should You File a Claim?

After an auto accident, some people may hesitate to file a claim because they fear the cost of their premiums will increase. However, this is not guaranteed, and if injuries or damages go unchecked, you could end up paying a substantial amount of money for healthcare or car repairs/replacement later on.

The sooner you file an auto insurance claim, the better. If you’re not at fault for the accident, your insurer will be able to give you a quick response with the help of medical and police reports. 

What to Do After a Car Accident

Auto accidents often elicit a state of shock in those involved, so knowing what to do in advance is vital for both safety and financial reasons.

Make sure all parties are safe

While it's tempting to immediately run around taking photographs of the scene, the first thing to do in the event of an auto accident is to ensure that all parties involved are safe. In the case of injury, call 911.

You want to ensure that the people involved are at least on the right side of the road or that their vehicles are ready and accessible to emergency services. If you have passengers in your car, ensure they are okay before moving your vehicle or attempting to remove them.

Document the scene

The success of your insurance claim often begins at the scene. Do your best to gather essential information to support your claim. This step includes exchanging information with the other driver(s). Obtain the contact information of all parties involved in the accident, including names, phone numbers, addresses, and insurance policy details.

Identify any witnesses present at the scene and request their contact information. Their statements can help support your claim to your insurance provider.

Call law enforcement

You should always call the authorities after an auto accident, whether you are at fault or not. Having a police report can help your claim move forward, and speaking to law enforcement will allow you to know whether the person who crashed into you was behaving illegally on the road.

Be sure to obtain your police report number, as your insurance provider may request it.

Photograph damage, car placement, signs, etc.

It’s much easier for your insurance provider to handle your claim if they have visual evidence.

Capturing clear images of the accident scene, involved vehicles and their damages, registration plates, and visible injuries can help support your insurance claim.

If you have been injured in an accident and are unable to do this, ask a passenger or a witness to do it for you.

Notify your insurance provider and submit a claim

Once you have documented the scene and gathered all necessary evidence, notify your insurance provider and submit a claim. Providing all relevant accident details and official reports will help expedite the resolution. 

Be honest and transparent in your communication, and ensure you discuss the accident with your insurance provider in great detail. Any discrepancies in your information could delay or jeopardize your claim. Don’t withhold any information about the accident, even if you were at fault.

Stay in contact with insurance

Your insurance provider will assign an adjuster to investigate the claim. Be sure to stay in contact with them and respond to any inquiries they may have.

You can request updates on your claim’s progress and the timelines for any vehicle repairs. It's also important to stay in contact with insurance so that you can understand and negotiate any claim settlements that need to be made.


A thorough review of your policy can help you to ensure that you know your coverage limits and exclusions and any applicable payments. 

Your insurance provider will offer a settlement once your claim is investigated. Review the offer they present, and make sure that it aligns with the coverage in your policy and the extent of the damages incurred.

If you believe your settlement offer is lacking, you can negotiate it before settling the claim.

Make any necessary repairs to your car

Handling vehicle repairs is the final step in the claim process. Assess the damage with your insurance company, and choose a repair option that your policy covers. Ideally, you should select the option recommended by your insurer so you don't get caught off guard by unexpected costs.

If your policy covers a rental car expense, be sure to coordinate that with your insurer to streamline the process. 

Contact Alpine Lake Insurance

Get the car insurance coverage you need at a price you can afford. Contact Alpine Lake Insurance today to explore our various auto insurance options. Let us help keep you safe on the road.