Auto Claim Process in Depth

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The Five Auto Claims Milestones

Every auto claim filed by one of our customers moves through what we call the five auto claims milestones. Some move quickly, with only a brief “stopover” at each step; others may take days or weeks. But whatever the time frame, the basic process is the same.

MILESTONE #1 Assignment
Whether you reported your auto claim to your agent, the Claim Department, or your policy brand phone line, your auto claim was assigned to a claims professional, who will guide you through the claims process and work with a team of specialized claim professionals to manage your claim. During that process, you may work with:

  • Your agent – the professional who sold you your insurance policy, who can answer questions about that policy and any endorsements, and about your deductible, but will not adjust your claim.
  • Your claims professional, who will guide you through the claims process – inspecting your vehicle if necessary, determining and investigating covered damages, and helping you better understand your policy and its endorsements.
  • A vehicle repair facility, whom you will select to arrange for repairs to your vehicle. (We do not perform repairs, nor do we select or provide a vehicle repair facility for you.)
  • Other specialists, whose services you may need – for example, a structural engineer, repair facility, medical professional, etc.

  • MILESTONE #2 Initial Contact
    In this phase, your claims professional contacts you about your auto claim. This is when your claims professional will:

    Obtain initial information about your loss.

  • Discuss your auto policy coverage and any applicable endorsements.
  • Explain how your claim will be handled.
  • Suggest ways to prevent further damage – for example, by putting a tarp over a damaged roof or a broken vehicle window. (You are responsible for maintaining and protecting your property. If it is damaged, you must take appropriate action to protect it from further damage until you have it repaired.)
  • Schedule an in-person appointment, if one is needed to adjust your claim.

  • MILESTONE #3 Evaluation
    If an inspection of vehicle is needed, your claims professional will conduct that inspection to determine whether your loss is covered – gathering all the facts about your loss, investigating and documenting damage or injury, interviewing witnesses or other involved individuals, taking photos and samples, and formally evaluating your claim.

    It is our objective to evaluate coverage, complete our estimate if the loss is covered, and deliver a payment during our first visit. If we can’t, we’ll explain why. And if we do, we stand ready to re-inspect your vehicle and provide a supplemental payment if you, a vendor, or auto repair facility later identifies additional damages that are covered by your policy.

    MILESTONE #4 Resolution
    We’ll work with you to resolve your claim fairly. In many cases, your claims professional will issue a payment based on the estimate for repairs at the end of the initial inspection. If your claim is complex, it may take a bit longer.

    Payment for medical bills associated with your auto claim will be made according to the coverage being used under the policy and your state’s laws.

    If you have questions about your claim payment, please do not hesitate to contact your claims professional. And remember – cashing a check does not waive any rights you have under the terms of your policy.

    If your damages are not covered, in part or in whole, by your policy, we will provide a letter explaining what damage is not covered and identifying the portion of your policy that applies to that coverage denial.

    MILESTONE #5 Claim Closed
    When we resolve your claim according to the terms of your policy, we close the claim. You still may have some questions at that point. Once again, check the FAQs in this pamphlet – and if you have a question that we haven’t answered there, call your claims professional.

    Your Auto Repair Estimate
    Once your claims professional completes your auto loss estimate, they will review it with you before issuing payment. The first page includes our contact information and your claim number. That number is the unique identifier for this claim; we use it to quickly locate your information. The estimate of the cost to repair covered damage is organized by room, area or item, and includes individual line items that indicate what will need to be repaired or replaced to bring your vehicle back to its pre-loss condition. It also includes a summary page, with an overview of all items included in the estimate.

    The estimate you receive from your claims professional is just that: an estimate. A number of issues may contribute to differences between our estimate and your vehicle repair facility’s. If there are differences, don’t panic: just contact your claims professional, who will probably ask you to send them a copy of the vehicle repair facility’s estimate for review. They’ll then discuss it with your vehicle repair service, and may then reinspect your vehicle to resolve any differences.

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