Auto Accident Claims Process: Understanding the Basics


The auto insurance industry is a very important one as vehicle accidents happen around the clock, ranging from a slight dent to severe and fatal crashes. It’s hard to be able to predict what kind of accident you’ll possibly get into in the future with fair accuracy. Insurance companies’ risk-assessment tries to do that by analyzing patterns and giving each possibility a calculable probability. 

An auto accident has a lot of variables like the type of insurance you have, the other party’s fault, losses on both sides, whether there is another party or not, and many other factors that can completely change the course of your insurance claim. It’s quite hard to think about your insurance and the claim process right after you’ve been in an accident. Even if it’s minor, sometimes an injury-less accident can cause some disorientation due to the adrenaline secretion. 

We’ve created this guide to try and help you understand the basics of the claim process, so you don’t end up feeling lost after an auto accident.

Get Legal Advice

If you happen to find yourself in the aftermath of an unfortunate accident with a party that isn’t making it easy, it’s advisable to call the police. This has more than one benefit; you could possibly be shaken from the accident and unable to collect the details you need, so having a police officer on the scene will help greatly in information collection and protection in case any conflict escalates. Sometimes filing a claim isn’t as smooth as you thought it would be. The legal side of the situation is vital, which is why attorneys in Chicago mention that when you’ve suffered a motor vehicle accident, getting legal advice is an important consideration. Whether the advice is to help you navigate a claim or an appeal process, a seasoned attorney can make a difference.

Contacting the Insurer

It’s very important to contact your insurance company as soon as possible, as they can guide you through the whole process safely. There is usually a time limit to report the accident, so the insurance agency could settle your claim. You may need to check with your insurer and state laws to know what is the time limit exactly. Once you contact your insurance company, they’ll ask you for essential information to help facilitate the filing of the claim like the name of the other party’s insurance company and their policy number. If the accident renders your car out of action and you can’t drive it, your insurer might be able to handle your transportation  and the transportation of your car depending on their policy.

Filing the Claim

There are two types of claims, first-party and third-party. The type of accident will help you determine the type of claim you should file. First-party claims are insurance claims that you file with your insurance company, if you potentially caused an accident with your car. Third-party claims are filed with the faulty party’s insurance company. Third-party claims are generally for when you are involved in an accident while being a pedestrian or a passenger. Similar to insurance claims filed with other insurance companies when you’re injured during your visits to a business place. Filing a claim to a third-party insurance company is best done with evidence like photos, witnesses, and police reports.

Claim Denial

An insurance claim can be denied for more than one reason. Taking too long to file the report can cause the insurance company not to honor your claim. Refusing an independent medical examination by your company or a third party’s insurance company can also get the claim denied. Your insurance policy sometimes can’t cover the type of accident you’ve been in. Whatever the reason for denial, you’ll get notified by the insurer, so you’d have a chance to appeal the denial.

Claim Specialists

Your insurance company will provide you with a claim specialist to help you navigate the murky waters of negotiations between different insurance companies. This adjuster or specialist will help with the collection of evidence and representation in negotiations with any involved parties until a settlement is reached. Depending on your insurance company, the repairs most of the time are done at a workshop or garage of the company’s choosing. The adjuster relays the estimate of the garage for the repairs to your insurer, which its coverage will also be depending on the policy you have with the insurance company.


Auto accidents aren’t easy for anyone. It’s very important that you have some background information on the claims process in order not to be overwhelmed with what will be required of you. The more serious an accident is, the more complicated the process could get.