Whenever you are involved in a car accident, the main concern on your mind – aside from receiving any medical attention necessary – will usually be to recover financial damages from your insurance company. Often times the claims process can be exhausting and confusing, so it’s important to have all the information to file an accurate claim to your insurance provider. There are a few key factors to the claims process that will ensure your claim is processed in a timely manner.
Pennsylvania Law to Keep in Mind
If the police didn’t investigate the accident, somebody was killed, or serious damage occurred – you must file a report of the accident within 5 days. Failure to do so could result in a suspended license. Due to Pennsylvania abiding by the “no fault” system, there are two different car insurance options to choose from in Pennsylvania: 1. A policy based on tradition tort liability or 2. No fault insurance.
This first option is the traditional car insurance option which states that you are able to sue the driver who hit you for damages. The downside to this traditional car insurance is that the opposing driver is also able to sue you if they believe you are at fault. The only exception to this rule is if there is a serious injury involved – in this case, either party is able to sue.
If you choose the no fault insurance, you don’t need to worry about being sued but you are also unable to sue the other driver for damages. Your insurance company will pay you for car damages regardless of who created the accident.
What to Do Before Filing an Insurance Claim
How well do you know your insurance policy? Take the time to read your insurance policy details before filing a claim so you are aware of your deductible and the insurance agreement guidelines you have with your insurance company. It can be overwhelming to find out what is covered in your agreement after the accident while you are scrambling to figure out the correct steps to filing an insurance claim.
After you notify your insurance company that you are wishing to file a claim, they will send you paperwork to complete within 10 days. It is important to complete this packet promptly and accurately to ensure the process will go smoothly. A lot of insurance companies will respond to your completed packet within one to two days.
Important Information About Your Claim
- Take photos of any car damages as evidence
- If you repaired your car damages, keep all receipts!
- Don’t make any serious repairs without insurance inspection and approval (it’s possible that your claim could be denied so don’t assume expensive repairs will be made)
- Have questions throughout the process? Ask!
- Keep records of exactly who you are speaking with at your insurance company (in case you need to refer back to that person)
After you speak with your insurance company and a representative inspects the damages of your car, the company will typically respond with a letter in a week. If the accident was tricky to determine fault, it could take longer than 15 days for the claim to accepted or rejected. If your claim has been rejected for any reason and you feel that it’s unjustified, contact the Pennsylvania Insurance Department will all of your information and they will investigate.
The insurance claims process can be complicated to most people who haven’t dealt with it before. If you’ve been involved in an accident in Pennsylvania, and you have any questions unanswered or the process is taking abnormally long, contact an experienced Pennsylvania car accident attorney who can handle your insurance company and file your claim for you.