Statistically speaking the more you drive the greater the chance you’ll end up in a car accident. Thankfully the process of making a claim doesn’t have to be scary. Follow these steps and you’ll be back on the road in no time.
When to call the police
Whether or not you need to call the police depends on a few factors. In Canada police are called to an accident only when the estimated damages exceed a certain minimum dollar value. This minimum is different depending on the province you live in. For example in Alberta and Ontario damage due to a collision must be greater than $2,000 before police are called. If you are involved in an accident where the damage exceeds the minimum dollar value and you fail to report the accident to the police you run the risk of being charged with leaving the scene. Leaving the scene of a collision is a serious conviction that could result in a hefty increase in your car insurance rates fines and even jail time.
When to file a claim
Regardless of how much damage is caused or whether or not police need to be called if you’re involved in an accident even a minor fender bender you will need to contact your independent insurance broker. A broker provides claims advice and helps you assess how it will impact your insurance coverage. In fact, anytime your car is damaged whether it’s through a collision vandalized stolen or damaged in a fire by hail or by some other non-accident event your broker needs to be kept in the loop. As your independent broker, he or she can help you assess whether or not the damage was significant enough to file a claim or whether you can avoid a rate increase and paying your deductible by paying for more minor damage out of pocket. Keep in mind however that even minor collisions need to be reported to your insurance company if anyone has been injured. When it doubt call your broker. By explaining the situation your broker will have a clear idea of your options and will be able to provide you with advice and guidance.
How to file a car insurance claim
When filing a claim you’ll need the following information:
- Date and time of the accident (or event that caused the damage);
- Names addresses and phone numbers of all parties involved as well as insurance information of the driver(s) which includes their insurance company policy number and broker’s name.
- The name and contact information of any witnesses to the accident;
- Driver’s license and license plate numbers for all drivers involved in the accident.
- Details of the loss such as the intersection where the collision occurred what happened who was driving and in what direction what the weather was like and the time of day.
Once you have this information call your broker.
Now read your car insurance policy
Once you’ve collected the necessary information and made your initial calls it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your broker so that both of you can go over your car insurance policy. This will help familiarize you with the specific details about your coverage as well as your rights and your responsibilities under this contract. Remember the claims process will be easier to understand if you know the details of your coverage and your responsibilities.