How to File a Car Insurance Claim

Auto Smarts

Just when you thought this day couldn’t get any worse… CRASH! You’re in a car accident. Thankfully, everyone’s fine and has Auto insurance. Now that it’s over and you have a minute to think, you just want to get your car fixed and get on with your life.

To do that, you need to file a claim with your insurance company.

The accident was stressful enough. The claims process doesn’t have to be. We’ll make it easy for you by explaining exactly what you need to do to file a claim.


On the scene

After the accident, your mind is racing with questions, but take a deep breath, and collect the following information before you leave the scene of the accident:

  • Exchange insurance information with the other driver, and anyone involved in the accident. Take pictures of their insurance cards, or write down the information.
  • Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, and to any other vehicles or structures.
  • If there are any witnesses, respectfully try to get their names and contact information.
  • Write down as much as you can: location, street names, time, license plates, vehicle makes and models, road and weather conditions. The more the better!
  • If a police officer is called to the scene, ask for as much information as you can from the officer (police report number, officer name, etc.).


Before you file a claim

Now that you’re ready to file your claim, you need your insurer’s claim phone number (on your insurance card), or a link to their online claims services.

You’ll need to provide the claims rep with the following information:

  • Date and time the accident happened
  • A basic description of what happened
  • Location of the accident (cross streets, address, city…whatever you can provide)

To make things faster and easier, have these items on hand:

  • Driver’s license
  • Vehicle registration
  • Insurance card
  • Policy number
  • Name, license plate number, vehicle and insurance information for the other drivers
  • Contact information for any witnesses (if you have it)
  • Police report and incident number (if you have it)
  • Name of the police office involved


Note: Even if the other person might be at fault, it’s still a good idea to file a claim and report the accident to your insurer. Their biggest concern is protecting your interests, which may not be the case with the other insurer.


The information contained in this page is provided for general informational purposes only, and is not meant as professional or expert advice. Every attempt is made to ensure accuracy and timeliness, however all content is presented without guarantees.

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