top of page

How to File a Car Insurance Claim: How Car Insurance Claims Work

Insurance coverage on its own can be confusing. However, the process of filing a claim for car insurance is even more complicated. Given that most consumers only have to file a claim every five to eight years, car insurance claims are daunting. Make sure to mitigate any future headaches by keeping detailed records of every accident, mishap and even repairs and upkeep.

You will need to record the location, time, and driver's names, as well as the license number, insurance company, and contact information if you’re in an accident. You can prepare a great deal of this information ahead of a car accident on your end by keeping your records up to date and always keeping them in your glove box.

It is important to let your car insurance company know about an accident and give all details. Involve your insurance carrier early to make sure you get the help you need.

The car insurance process is not complete without the help of claims adjusters. Auto insurance companies have adjusters who coordinate teams to investigate an accident, assess the vehicle damage, and determine fault.

This article will explain how car insurance works after an accident or mishap. This article also discusses what to do if you are hit by an uninsured/underinsured driver, and how the auto insurance teams work behind-the scenes to resolve claims.

Contact your Car Insurance Company Immediately after a Car Accident

Let your car insurance company know about any accident and give all details.

Keep good records starting at the second accident. You can use your smartphone or a notebook in your glove box. Write down the time, date and make of the accident. Also note the license number, registration number, name and insurance provider of the vehicle. You can help auto insurance by filling out the gaps when you've been in an accident.

Take the badge numbers and names of any officers who arrive on the scene. Note whether emergency medical personnel were called. Photos can also be helpful and are easy to take with your phone.

Every auto insurance company has its own process, from filing a claim to settling it. The process is fairly straightforward. However, you will only be able to see a small part of the process. Behind the scenes, all negotiations between insurance companies regarding payments and reimbursements will take place. This is why it’s incredibly important to work with an insurance agent you trust to advocate for you.

How to File a Claim

Your insurance company will call you as soon as possible after you report an accident.

Your insurer assigns a claims adjuster to you after a claim has been filed. This is your contact throughout the process. The adjusters coordinate teams that examine medical reports, interview witnesses, inspect the scene, assess the damage to the vehicle, and manage any repairs. They also check your coverage (how much you pay for property and medical injuries) and determine fault.

While adjusters are working, auto repairs and medical treatment can begin immediately. Each insurance company covers its driver's injuries as well as any property damage. Indemnification is the process of "making yourself whole". Your insurance company will indemnify you and not the other way around. After determining fault, the insurance companies will negotiate to determine which company will reimburse the other for any claims.

Who is At Fault?

Like many aspects of car insurance, fault determination isn't always easy. Insurance companies can determine fault. This is usually done in terms of percentage. This means that the driver who is at fault for 60% of the accident claims is covered by the insurance company and the other company covers the rest.

Each driver's car insurance company covers the claims of its customers in no-fault states. The car insurance claim process is much easier if one driver is entirely at fault.

What Happens if I’m Involved with an Uninsured Driver?

This may surprise you, but it doesn't matter if there are uninsured or underinsured motorists involved.

Underinsured drivers will have their insurance company work with the other company to pay your claim. Let's say, for example, that the policy of an underinsured driver covers $5,000 in property damage, but your vehicle sustains $10,000 in damage. Your car insurance company will pay $5,000, while the insurance company of the underinsured driver will pay $5,000. Your car insurance company will then contact the driver who is underinsured and request reimbursement.

While claims adjusters can determine fault, subrogation units use these determinations to decide which car insurance company will pay and how much.

How Carriers Handle Payment Disputes

Each driver's car insurance company will demand payment to the other once it has completed its claims investigations.

If companies can't agree on payment, they can request judgment from an arbitration service set up to handle insurance carrier disputes. Once an arbitration panel makes a determination, these decisions are binding and final. There is no appeal.


Even the smallest car accident can cause serious injuries. It is important to be familiar with the steps you need to follow to ensure that the claims process goes smoothly.

Know your insurance coverage and how to use it. Be prepared with all the details about your accident. Stay in touch with your claims adjuster. Also, learn your state's car insurance laws.

You can get in touch with our team at Richard Dean Insurance today to ensure you have adequate coverage and are protected in the unfortunate event of an accident.



bottom of page