In the unfortunate event that you find yourself involved in a car accident, you will also probably find yourself needing to make a claim with your auto insurance provider. In order to help make things easier on you during an already stressful time, here are 5 common mistakes you should avoid when making a claim with your insurer.
Lying/omitting information on your claim
This probably shouldn’t need to be said, but some people still feel like it’s a good idea, but please, do not lie to your insurance company while filing a claim. In order to accurately file your claim, the information that you relay to your insurance broker should remain factual. Lying about or omitting information will do you no favors in the long run, as it can lead to your claim being denied, cause a rise in your premiums, and in many cases cancellation or non-renewal of your policy. If that isn’t enough to stop you from being less than honest with your insurer, then keep in mind that in accordance to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, giving false information to your insurance company is also an offence punishable by law, with a maximum 14 years imprisonment.
Not having enough documentation
When you are at the scene of an accident, whether there are other parties involved or not, be sure to take plenty of photos of the damage done to your car, their car, and the surrounding area. It is also a good idea take photos of any road conditions or signs that may have played a factor in the accident.
If there are other parties involved make sure that all information is exchanged before leaving the scene of the accident. This sort of information includes not only insurance information, the driver’s name and their licence, licence plate, and contact information, but it is also important to obtain information regarding the make and model of the vehicle as well as the name and contact information of the car owner if it differs from who was driving.
Not contacting police or seeking medial assistance at the scene
Both the police and paramedics provide great evidence to your insurance provider on your behalf in the event of an accident. While police reports are not the only deciding factor when your insurer is determining fault in an accident, it is still a key piece of evidence to have. It is also pertinent to seek the help of paramedics at the scene, or following up with a doctor in a timely manner if you are hurt as a result of an accident; at the time of the claim your provider will ask for some sort of documentation verifying the severity of the injuries.
Waiting too long to put forth a claim
The best practice when filing a claim is to do it as quickly as possible after the accident. Claims can sometimes take time to resolve and process, especially if there is a dispute of fault involved. By filing quickly, you also help to ensure that any information regarding the incident is fresh in your mind, and as factual as possible. So, in order to know that you are being compensated in an accurate and timely manner, be sure to begin the claims process as soon as you are able to.
Filing a claim when it would be better not to
There are some occasions, especially when no other parties are involved, when it makes more sense to forgo filing a claim. Mainly this occurs when the damage you would have to pay to fix your vehicle does not exceed that of your insurance deductible. If the cost of the damages is less than the cost of your deductible, then it makes more sense to pay for the repairs out of pocket. This way, not only will you save money by not having to pay more than what the repairs are worth, but you also avoid filing a claim that will more than likely make your insurance premiums rise at the time of your renewal.