What To Do When You Have a Claim?

It is never fun to have an insurance claim. Even with the best insurance coverage and a responsive agent to help you (like us), you will face a certain degree of aggravation, inconvenience, and even emotional distress. Here are some helpful hints to help you organize your thoughts and minimize your stress should you experience an insurance claim.

Report All Claims to Your Agent as Soon as Possible

While all our insurance carriers have direct reporting capabilities and we list a claim contact for each carrier on our website, it may be best to report the claim to us.

Sometimes, you may have an incident or accident but decide that it does not merit making an insurance claim against your policy. For example, you may have damage that totals $1,400 and have a $1,000 deductible on your policy. This could be a situation where you decide not to involve your insurance carrier. We can discuss these situations with you at the time of the loss and give you the information you need to make such a decision.

When you report a claim directly to the insurance company, you cannot take back the claim.

If You Are Involved in an Automobile Accident – Call the Police

Please don’t get confused by the saying that New Jersey (or any other State for that matter) is a “no-fault” state. That terminology doesn’t mean what you think as it relates solely to responsibility to pay for medical care arising from an automobile accident.

It is important to determine who is at fault at the scene of an accident. The reporting police officer will take a statement from all parties involved and may make a conclusion on fault. This is often followed up with a ticket or citation given to the “at-fault” party. If you are in a two-car accident, and you are the only person who receives a ticket, it is a good bet that the police report will state that you were primarily responsible for the accident.

When you are at-fault, it is likely that your insurance policy will end up paying for the damage to the other party’s vehicle and your own if you have collision coverage.

Do Not Handle the Claim Yourself

It is important that you not do anything that impairs the ability of the insurance company to defend you in a suit. That is a condition of your policy and in an extreme situation could negate your liability coverage. In plain language, this means that you should not admit to fault, or offer to pay out of your pocket for damages to another party, especially if there is bodily injury involved.

Get as Much Information as You Can

Regardless of the claim, the more information you have, the better. For automobile accidents, it is important to get the following information:

  • Names of all the parties – Get as much contact information as you can, like telephone numbers, addresses, or email addresses.
  • Get contact information from any witnesses to the accident – The police officer may not do this.
  • The location of the accident – Either the intersecting streets, a street address, or GPS points are helpful. Know the name of the responding police department and try to get the officer’s name.
  • It is helpful to take a photo of the damage to all vehicles involved if you can. Where a car is damaged can help you recreate the flow of the accident when your head clears.

Remember to remove anything important from your vehicle if you are leaving it at the scene. My mother once totaled a vehicle, only to realize later that her purse, checkbook, and other personal items were still in the car after they towed it away.

Of course, if you are injured, worry about seeking treatment of the points listed above.

For home or other property claims, it is important to get the following information:

  • What is the cause of loss if you know it.
  • You need a date to report a claim, so try to remember when the damage occurred rather than when you noticed it.
  • Did anyone respond to the claim such as the fire department, police department, or others.
  • If you call a remediator or a contractor, it is important to get contact information so the insurance company can reach out to them as early as possible.

Please remember that we are here to help when you have a claim! Call us anytime.