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Not every auto accident is the same

Not every auto accident is the same

For example, a car that is damaged when a rock bounces up and cracks the windshield versus a vehicle that is totaled, injuring the driver in the process, are completely different types of accidents-and not just because of severity. Insurance companies also distinguish between accident claims, and determine which damages a driver qualifies for based on these categories.

Before you begin the claims process, review these four types of auto accident insurance claims to learn what they are, how adjustors handle them, and advice on filing a claim.

Bodily Injury Claims

If you are involved in a car or truck accident that causes you to sustain an injury, then you will need to file a bodily injury claim. In most bodily injury accidents, victims will file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company if you live in a state that requires liability insurance to cover personal injury, or if you were the passenger.

Once you’ve contacted the appropriate insurance company, the adjustor will calculate what your claim is worth by evaluating the compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are divided into general (noneconomic injury such as pain and suffering) and special damages (economic losses such as medical care and wage loss).

Property Damage Claims

Property damage claims cover damage to vehicles and property that occurs because of an auto accident. These damages can be anything from a truck crashing into a home, to a car hitting a mailbox. The insurance company of the at-fault driver is responsible for compensating the damage. In these cases, liability is determined by the car, not the driver.

It is best to file a property damage claim as soon as possible. If determining fault in a property damage claim is clear, contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company to avoid paying a deductible by going through your own insurer. If fault is uncertain, file a claim with your own insurance company instead. Your insurer will reimburse your deductable if the other driver is determined to be at-fault later on.

Windshield Claims

Claims to repair scratched, cracked, or chipped windshields fall under comprehensive auto insurance coverage. Deciding whether or not it is worth filing a windshield claim can be tricky. Review your auto policy and ask yourself (and your adjustor) these questions:

• How high is my insurance deductible? (If you have a deductible of $500 or more the cost of repair will not be covered by the deductible.)

• What is the repair cost for a damaged windshield?

• Will my premium jump after filing a windshield claim?

If you decide to file a claim, your adjustor will review your policy to ensure that you are covered for windshield repair. Once cleared, take your vehicle to a repair shop to have the windshield repaired or replaced. Your insurer should cover the cost of the repair, minus the deductible.

Third Party Insurance Claims

When filing an auto insurance claim you have one of two options: going through your own insurance company (first party) or the insurance company of the other driver involved in the accident (third party). If you feel the other driver caused the auto accident, filing a third party insurance claim is best since you avoid having to involve your insurer.

However, there are a couple difficulties that may arise with third party claims. For one, while you may be used to communicating with your own insurance company, it may be difficult to work with another driver’s insurer. Since you aren’t their customer and aren’t paying them-in fact, you are trying to get compensation from them-it can prove challenging to get the answers you need.

Secondly, third party insurance companies often try to refuse claims by saying there is not enough evidence to determine fault, or by offering an unreasonably low settlement.

If you believe a third party insurer has wrongfully denied your claim, or is intentionally delaying compensation, immediately seek legal advice from an insurance bad faith attorney. A lawyer specialized in dealing with insurance companies will be able to evaluate if your claim is well-founded, and if so, get you the most compensation you are entitled to under the law.

About MD Kawsar

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