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How do I file a car insurance claim?

How you file a car insurance claim depends on various factors, especially on the nature of the claim (i.e. personal injury claim, property damage claim, etc.).

Some cases might seem simple enough to file a claim on your own behalf (and, some actually are that simple—with a little research and direction from your insurance provider on policy details); other cases are complicated and benefit greatly from a car accident attorney who can file on your behalf.

Car insurance claims can be confusing. Here are some common questions and answers about filing claims with your car insurance company.

How do I file a claim?

Many car insurance companies offer multiple avenues to file a claim. You may be able to file:

In person.
By phone.
Via a mobile app provided by the company.

Essentially, you’ll need to provide some basic information (see next FAQ) and provide accident details. To learn more, visit our How to File a Claim page.
What do I do immediately after an accident?

Immediately after an accident:

Check to see if any parties need urgent first aid attention.
Do not move the vehicles, unless they are endangering oncoming traffic.
Contact the authorities for medical and police services.

Once help is on the way:

Gather the VIN and license plate numbers of all vehicles involved.
Exchange the following information with the other driver(s):
Addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information.
Do not apologize or admit fault. Avoid discussing the accident until the authorities arrive.
Take photos of damages.

Once you have the necessary information, give it to your car insurance provider.
What information do I need to have to file a claim?

Each insurance provider has a different set of information required when filing a car insurance claim. You will need, at a minimum, the following:

Policy number (listed on your insurance card).
Date of the accident.
Location of the accident.
Description of how the accident occurred.
Name, address, license plate, and insurance information for the other party involved.
Name of the police department involved (if applicable).
Police report number (if applicable).

Consult with your auto insurance policy to see if you have the right coverages to pay for the type of claim you are filing. If you do, it should be covered. But remember that your deductible and your specific coverage limits will apply.

Speak with your auto insurance agent with any questions.

Are my rates going to increase if I file a claim?

Each auto insurance policy is different, but it is possible for your car insurance rates to go up if you file a claim.

While some companies have accident forgiveness programs that ensure your premium stays the same after your first accident, in many cases having a claim will raise your risk profile and, in turn, your rates.


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