Many people get confused, frustrated and upset with the claims process after an accident. Loss of or damage to property is a stressful situation. Confusion and frustration set in when expectations are not met. To keep frustrations to a minimum I would like to clear up some of the of the most popular statements I’ve heard in regards to auto claims.
- My car has to be fixed at my insurance companies’ provider. – False – You can take your car anywhere to be fixed. Communication is key. You need to let your insurance company know you want to take the car to your own shop and they will dispatch a claim rep to adjust your damages on site. After the appointment you will be issued a check for damages less your deductible. You can then take that check to the repair shop of your choice and pay them your deductible after repairs.
All insurance companies’ use what are call preferred providers. These are just merely a suggestion for the customer. Many times the preferred provider can send the estimate directly to your insurance company without the need of any other inspections. Because of the “Repair Act” all repair shops guarantee their work.
- Always get a Police Report – True – Police reports solidify an incident occurred. Some people do not want to file reports for one reason or another but to protect yourself, it’s the best thing to do. Make sure you also ask for witnesses. They are invaluable since the police get there after the fact. Insurance companies do call the witnesses in their investigations. Ultimately the insurance companies determine percentage of fault to each party not the police.
- My uninsured motorist coverage will fix my car – FALSE – Uninsured motorist coverage is a very important coverage, but it pays nothing to fix your car. Uninsured motorist coverage pays the insured for additional expenses related to injuries sustained in an NOT AT FAULT accident. Payments such as lost wages, alterations necessary for the home, pain and suffering, payments made for temporary help, long-term medical treatments and medical bills in excess of the $10,000 PIP limit. These coverages go way beyond ANY medical insurance plan. Make sure you have this coverage.
- If my windshield cracks I automatically get a free windshield, per Florida law – FALSE – This “law” is highly misunderstood. To get a free windshield replacement you must carry comprehensive coverage on your automobile. Comprehensive coverage includes glass breakage. Without this your insurance company has no coverage to file the claim under. In addition to glass breakage comprehensive coverage includes damage from hitting an animal, vandalism, fire, theft, hail or falling objects.
These are just a few misunderstood items of car insurance. Your agent should be happy to go over your policy to see if you are lacking these and other important coverages.