BY JELANI DANIEL
What is a car insurance claim?
A car insurance claim is a request to an insurance company to compensate for damages following an accident. Even if there is little to no damage, it puts a formal record on an incident that has occurred to your vehicle involving another driver or pedestrian.
What if the accident is not my fault?
Regardless of fault, a claim will be made regarding both parties to clearly represent the incident. Court proceedings, tickets or further agreements will be carried out after the claim is made.
The process after a claim is filed:
After a claim is filed, an adjuster will be assigned (in most cases) to handle the situation, look at your involvement and potentially collect a summary or ‘statement’ of what happened. The adjuster then looks at the issues surrounding the accident to tell you what you may be entitled to.
Another factor that is taken into consideration is the fault of the driver, which can impact coverage as well as increase your insurance rates. Regardless of fault, there is a claim on file impacting the price of the driver’s insurance, even if no charges have been made.
Repercussions from your claim:
Insurance claims may stay on your file even if you are not found legally at fault; the insurance company will determine your fault separately. If you are over 25% at fault, there may be higher charges for the next insurance renewal period since you pose a higher risk to the company.
If the fault placed seems unfair, the adjuster that spoke with you will be able to rehash everything and see if the claim is legitimate, especially after a dismissal of a charge within the court. Being represented fairly is part of your right as a paying client of an insurance company.
How long does your claim stay on file?
Traffic tickets themselves may last up to three years on your driving record while collisions can remain on your insurance for up to six years. Depending on the severity of the accident, the percentage of fault and the post-accident care, your rate will be affected for that time. The rates will increase at the point of renewal, giving you a heftier fee to pay to offset the amount of money the insurance company has invested in the accident.
Overall, car accidents may be forgiven for a short period of time but will affect your driving record for a long time into the future. By using public transit when possible and watching out for other drivers on the road, you can keep a clean driving record and lower rates in the long run.