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Insurance ONGuard: Claims Checklist

Filing a Claim: A Handy Checklist for Automobile Accidents
A person buys an insurance policy to protect against losses in the event of an accident, damage to property or personal injury.
While every claim is different, it's helpful to understand just what a claim is.
Understanding the process of filing a claim can help you – and assist your insurance company in handling your claim.
In simplest terms, a claim is your request for payment, compensation for your loss according to the terms of the insurance policy.
Let's review some guidelines for filing a claim for automobile damage in the event of an accident. Once an accident occurs, an insurance adjuster will handle the case.
The job of an insurance adjuster is to evaluate the entire loss, starting from the cause of the damage to the final payment of the claim.
This process may include taking photographs of the damage to the car, requesting estimates, talking to witnesses, visiting the accident site, negotiating on settlement as prices may vary from repair shop to repair shop. Finally, it is the adjuster's job to recommend a settlement, or a payment on a claim, based on their findings.
Now, let's assume you've had a car accident and need to file a claim. What do you need to do to get the process started?
The first thing to do is contact your agent or insurance company as quickly as possible.
Do not delay!
Filing a claim more than 30 days after an accident may mean more paperwork, more procedures to follow and more delays in receiving your compensation.
Next, make sure you have all the documents you need.
While every accident is slightly different, here's a checklist of items that are essential for your insurance company to have in order to process your claim:
— Police Report
— One (1) itemized estimate from a Licensed Auto repair Shop.
— Photos of the damaged vehicle or property
— Statement of Occurrence (this is a description of what happened in your own words)
— Current registration
— Current Driver's License
— Current Insurance Card
Generally, you will have to pay for getting a police (or fire) report and will not be reimbursed for this cost. You may also be asked to provide more documentation, particularly if you were charged and given a ticket at the scene of the accident.
You can start the claims process by contacting your insurance company prior to receiving the Police Report, which may not be ready for several days.
Do not begin the repairs or dispose of the damaged property until your adjuster has inspected the damage. It is very difficult to evaluate a claim for damage when the damage has already been repaired or disposed of.
Finally, make sure you protect your vehicle from further damage after the accident. Don't leave it unlocked or unprotected. You may not be able to make a claim for any damage that occurs if the car is left unsecured.
TIP: Make copies of these documents and papers and keep the copies and originals in a large envelope or file folder so you don't lose them.
Brought to you by Guardian Insurance: Always by your side.

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