Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: May 6, 2019

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A car accident can be stressful enough and dealing with your auto insurance company can sometimes make the stress linger on for a weeks.

However there are things you can do to help deal with the claims division of your auto insurance company after an accident.

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If this is your first accident then its common to feel overwhelmed when it comes to filing a claim. Up until now you have probably only spoke with an insurance agent (salesman) and the customer service team.

Both of these parties do not have the power to write you a check so it’s important to understand the claims division can be a little less friendly.

Some auto insurance companies excel in handling claims making you truly feel like a valued customer while others have you shuffling around papers day and night making you question how they got licensed in the first place.

The first thing to understand is what coverage you have and what compensation you are entitled

For accidents involving injury you obviously want to make sure everyone is safe with the medical treatment they need before doing anything else. When everybody is secure however you need to become familiar with your auto insurance policy right away.

For seasoned policyholders who have filed claims before this is pretty standard however first-time filers sometimes trust whatever the claims handling division tells them.

This should never be the case and any time a claim is offered you should ask the auto insurance company to quote your policy coverage about the amount of insurance you have for the particular situation.

You need to call the car insurance company right away but in most accidents this does not mean in the next 90 seconds. You will have time to go home, get your policy out and read about your coverage.

Of course, you were supposed to do this when you first purchased the policy but not everyone attended that class.

Are you insured for lost wages? How much liability insurance do you have? Was the accident your fault? Do you have car insurance to cover repairs to your vehicle?

So many questions will be asked and you need to know what coverage you have. It’s the only way to get the maximum benefit from your auto insurance policy.

Once you refresh your memory (or read your policy for the first time) then its time to call the car insurance company. This needs to happen sooner than later so brush up on your policy coverage but don’t hesitate to call your auto insurance company.

Once you have filed the claim then you need to follow the instruction of the car insurance company. This means finding a repair shop and providing any pertinent information about the accident including photographs, witness names and more.

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Be Nice – Claims Representatives are People too

It’s normal to get agitated with some of the information requested by your auto insurance company but you also always need to be polite.

Insurance claim representatives have more power than you think and creating a hostile claim environment will not only expose you to more headaches but may even result in lower payouts due to someone’s personal beef with your attitude.

You can always fight any kind of claim issued and request a higher payout if you feel one is justified but don’t expect much co-operation with the representative you just barked at.

Ask for Honest Expectations

When it comes to filing a claim most drivers simply want their vehicle fixed and/or a check cut. This is not rocket science however when it comes to money some policyholders want their money yesterday.

Sometimes it takes a little time to close a car insurance claim so instead of demanding payment ask for expectations on when you can expect a check.

This will not only save you from calling every day but also set reasonable expectations so you can focus on other things.

These are the most important things when dealing with an auto insurance company after a car accident. Understanding your policy coverage and playing nice will get you a long way.

However, if you still feel like you deserve more or the claim approved is less than your policy allows you can always contest a car insurance claim.

Many drivers opt for independent estimates and sometimes even invoke the assistance of a car insurance lawyer but hopefully with your smile and newfound patience filing a claim won’t come to this.

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