How to Make a Hassle-Free Insurance Claim

Insurance is one of those things that you have to purchase, despite the fact that you hope to never use it. And when you do have to use your insurance, it’s because something bad has happened: you were in an accident, your car was stolen or damaged, or maybe you were a victim of vandalism. Needless to say, making an insurance claim probably isn’t your idea of fun, so here are some ways you can make it easier on yourself.

Understand your insurance plan

Take the time to fully understand your insurance policy, so there are no surprises when it’s time to make a claim. When you get an insurance quote, make sure you compare at least three different policies – something you can easily do online. You’ll want to compare things like premium rates, coverage options, and claims and accident forgiveness policies. You’ll also want to choose an insurer that you feel comfortable with, who takes the time to answer your questions and explains your policy, and who is easy to reach when you need them. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario has more tips to help you fully understand your auto insurance.

Call your insurance provider, even if you’re not going to make a claim

If you get in a small fender-bender, you might decide to settle up with the other driver without making an insurance claim. Even if that’s the case, you should still report the incident to your insurer for a couple of reasons. First, the other driver might change their mind after the fact and file a claim or police report. If that happens and you haven’t reported the incident to your insurer, they might not cover the claim. In addition, insurers can choose to not renew your policy if they find out you failed to report an accident.

Collect as much information as possible

The more information you have to submit with your claim, the easier the process will be. You’ll want to note the other driver’s license plate number, driver’s licence number, insurance policy information, and contact information. You’ll also want to collect contact information for passengers and witnesses, and take photos of the damage with your phone. If you’re worried that you might forget important details, you could call your insurance provider at the scene to ask what information they’ll need, or keep a copy of this accident worksheet in your glove compartment.

Consider purchasing a dash cam

If you’re worried about making a claim in a scenario where it will be your word against the word of another driver, consider using a dash cam to record your drive. The dash cam footage could provide factual evidence that helps your insurer determine fault. Just remember – video evidence doesn’t lie, and it will work against you if you were in the wrong.

Find a mechanic that you – and your insurer – trust

Once it’s time to have your car serviced after an accident, don’t leave your car with the first mechanic you find. Instead, ask your insurance provider if they have a preferred vendor in your community, and compare quotes with multiple shops to find a mechanic you trust.

Since insurance fraud is a pervasive problem in auto body shops, do not sign any blank work orders from your mechanic. Instead, ask for a detailed quote of the work that they intend to perform, and confirm that your insurance provider will cover the cost of the proposed repairs. If your mechanic discovers more repairs that need to be done in the process of servicing your car, consult with your insurer before giving the shop permission to do the work. Finally, when the repairs are complete, make sure you receive an official receipt that details the work completed and the name and address of the shop.

You’ll never be happy about having to make an insurance claim, but these tips will help you make the best of a bad situation.