Reporting Auto Insurance Claims: Car Insurance Claim

Learn the Process to Submit an Automobile Insurance Claim for Collision or Comprehensive Coverage

Photo of car dent

There are two common types of car insurance claims that can be reported for damage to the vehicle that you own.

  1. Collision Claim - A collision claim is for damage caused by a collision to a vehicle that you insure. The collision may have been with any object and is not limited to multiple car accidents. In other words, these claims include solo car accidents in which the driver may have hit a building, light post or any other object.
  2. Comprehensive Claim - A comprehensive claim is for any damage to your vehicle not caused by a collision. Frequently, comprehensive claims are made for theft or vandalism damage. Other comprehensive claims include fire damage and flood. Damage caused by impact with an animal is usually also falls into this category.

If you suffer damage to your vehicle, you will need to contact your car insurance carrier in order to start the process. Here is how to report an auto insurance claim with most insurers:

  1. Contact Your Agent - The majority of automobile insurance carriers sell policies through Agents. The Agent is an owner or employee of a brick-and-mortar business that solicits clients for an insurance company. They operate as your first point of contact for filing the claim. They will ask you for the facts of the loss and details on your damages, at which time they will submit a claim form on your behalf to the insurance carrier for further review.
  2. Contact the Insurance Company by phone - If desired, you can skip contacting your Agent and you can call the insurance company directly. Most carriers place their phone numbers on your bills, proof of insurance cards and websites, so you can easily contact them in case of a loss or damage to your vehicle.
  3. Submit a claim through the web - As technology continues to improve; more carriers are beginning to encourage clients to submit electronic claims. Navigate to your carrier's website (for example StateFarm or FarmersInsurance or NationwideInsurance) and click on the "Report a Claim" link. You will be asked to submit information on the policy, facts of loss and damages.

When you are reporting a collision claim, be sure to have as much of the following information on hand as possible.

  1. Date, time and location of the accident.
  2. The current location of your vehicle and whether it is drivable.
  3. Information on the other driver, including name, address, phone number and driver license number.
  4. Details on the other vehicles involved, including make and model, license plate and VIN.
  5. Auto insurance claim information from the other involved parties, including the carrier and policy numbers.
  6. Contact information for any witnesses and law enforcement agencies that arrived at the scene.

If you have suffered a comprehensive loss, the information you need will be a little different.

  1. Details on the loss, including date, time and location.
  2. The current location of your vehicle and whether it is drivable.
  3. In the event of a theft loss, you will need to provide mileage of your vehicle as well as the options and features that your car had. This will assist in the valuation of your vehicle.
  4. Contact information on the lien holder (bank or savings institution) that financed the vehicle.
  5. Contact information for any witnesses and law enforcement agencies that have information on the loss.

Shortly after submitting a claim, you will be contacted by a claims associate who will walk you through the process. Do not be afraid to ask the associate any questions you may have regarding the claim, your rights and their responsibilities, local laws and any other concerns or questions.  


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