What auto insurance really covers in a car accident
Car insurance can be confusing to evaluate and select when you become a driver. While it’s required that all drivers carry insurance, not everyone does. Additionally, that requirement only provides minimal coverage
Primary types of auto insurance
The important thing to remember is that before doing anything else, the insurance company is going to establish fault after you’re in an auto accident. Establishing fault then tells the insurance company, based on the policy you have, whether or not you’re covered. There are four primary types of car insurance:
- Liability Insurance – pays damages where it’s determined you were the party at fault. This type of insurance covers personal injury expenses and pays property damages to the other party or parties involved. This is the most commonly required type of car insurance, however your injuries and damage to your property are NOT This insurance type also has limits, and you may max out the amount of damages your insurance company will cover for a claim, not to mention you’ll still have to pay for your own expenses should any occur.
- Collision Coverage – this optional coverage compensates you for your car and yourself after a traffic accident. It typically covers crashing into another car or object directly and only includes damage to your property and your personal injury. While it’s optional, it’s beneficial to have this type of coverage to ensure you avoid out-of-pocket expenses for personal injury or property damage to your car, regardless of fault. With this type of insurance, you can select your deductible, so you know in advance what you’ll have to pay before the insurance takes over.
- Comprehensive Coverage – covers damages to your car resulting from something other than an accident. This typically includes fire, theft, vandalism, natural disasters, falling objects, collision with an animal like a moose or deer, etc. It’s also optional coverage.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection – this insurance type covers you and your passengers’ medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages if in an accident occurs with an uninsured motorist. It can also be applicable in a hit-and-run auto accident. If you have underinsured coverage, it will help cover the costs associated with a car accident should the other party by at fault and be without enough insurance to fully compensate you.
What to do before contacting your car insurance company if in an auto accident
Oftentimes, it’s the insurance company who establishes fault in a car accident. They’re under no obligation to agree with fault assigned in the police report, so can determine whose insurance will cover personal injury and property damages based on their own evaluation. This makes it crucial for you to have the right information to share with your insurance company after being in an auto accident.
It’s important to gather the proper evidence immediately following a car accident – take pictures of the scene, collect proper information from other parties involved, document all injuries and damages to personal property, etc. Make sure to note if any citations were issued as a result of the accident in addition to collecting the official police report
How to actually file a claim when it’s time
When it’s time to reach out to your insurance company to report an accident, make sure you’re prepared. Have all your compiled evidence at the ready and prepare a statement regarding the accident along with what you’re asking the insurance company for in relation to compensation. This is where speaking to an attorney prior to calling your insurance company can be most beneficial, since they’re able to help you word your statement to be most effective.
Once you make the call, a claims specialist will be assigned to you. They will investigate the accident and work to get any claims settled and your vehicle repaired. They’ll be responsible for reviewing personal injury claims and handling payments as well as approving repair costs. Regardless of fault, your claims specialist will handle the process for you.
While your insurance company will tell you they’re advocating for you throughout the process, to ensure you get the maximum compensation available to you for a personal injury or property damage claim, it’s important to have the outside support of an experienced lawyer who knows how to navigate the claims process.