If you haven’t had an Oklahoma car insurance claim, consider yourself lucky. Or overdue. If you got your driver’s license at age 16, odds are you’ll be in a car accident by the time your 34, at the latest.
In 2016 about 220 million Americans drive about 260 million cars roughly 3.2 trillion miles. More drivers and more cars are on the roads every year.
There are over 6 million car accidents in the U.S. every year.
The cost in terms of medical bills for injuries and the repair of the damaged vehicles is just around $25,000 for the average auto accident.
Even with all these numbers hanging over your morning commute, an average driver will file a car insurance claim for a collision only once every 17.9 years. Over a typical driving lifetime, most of us will have a total of three to four car accidents. That’s if you’re an average driver, which let’s face it, most of us are even if we won’t admit it.
When the law of averages catch up to you there are some things you should know about the typical Oklahoma car insurance claim process and experience. Let me set a couple of scenes…
You’re southbound on Broadway Extension in morning rush hour. It’s that rock-a-bye baby, stop-and-go kind of drive. Suddenly, you’re hit by the car behind you. What do you do?
Maybe that scenario is reversed and you hit the car in front of you. What do you do?
Maybe your commute is uneventful. But, just as you’re getting out of your car to walk in to the office you get a call from your daughter, who should be arriving at school right about now. She tells you she was pulling into a parking space at school as someone else was backing out and they, “like” bumped into each other. She’s asking you what to do.
These are three very common scenarios. In fact, most car accidents are fender-benders, with no injuries and both cars are still driveable. This blog is for these common types. Here are ten steps, some physical and some mental that will help you better navigate your fender-bender.
Here are my 10 recommended steps in an Oklahoma car insurance claim.
Be proactive. Get photos of both cars (including tag) and the general scene. Get photos of the other driver’s insurance card and driver’s license. Get their name as well as the name of the car owner (people aren’t always driving their own car) along with phone numbers and emails.
Call the police… always. Why? Even if they tell you to just exchange information and go on your way, this call is logged and can be accessed if necessary in the claim process. If the police do not respond, see Step 1.
To file a claim or not to file a claim? Not every car collision needs to have a claim filed, in my opinion. Depending on the situation, you may agree with the other party to evaluate the extent of the damage before filing a claim. When someone is clearly at fault and willing to pay for the cost of repairs, there is nothing wrong with giving them that opportunity. Paying for a small loss directly could be cheaper than paying a higher insurance premium for the next three years because you filed a claim. **BE SURE YOU HAVE COMPLETED STEP ONE, JUST IN CASE.**
Be a realist… an auto insurance claim, like any other insurance claim is an inconvenience to say the least. Your next few days or weeks will include the additional work of going through the claim process. Most insurance companies are very efficient and want to resolve the claim quickly for you.
Insurance commercials on TV make it look like a car claim can be handled like taking a selfie. Each claim is different. Patience is the key.
If you are a client of the Allen Drew Insurance Agency, we have a claims liaison in our office to monitor the progress of the claim and help keep everything on track.
Who’s at fault? Nobody likes to admit they are wrong. For some reason, when we get behind the wheel of a car, everyone else seems like an idiot, don’t they?
Sometimes both parties are at fault in a car accident. But you must understand that determining who is at fault must be done before anything else happens. It’s not always a simple process. Once liability (or who was at fault) is determined, then everyone knows who’s going to be paying the bills.
Where will the car be repaired? Don’t worry, you will have choices. But keep in mind that it takes time to get estimates and repairs done.
Most insurance companies have relationships with car repair facilities that they will recommend to you. I would recommend you use these repair shops. The work is usually guaranteed by the insurance company. So you will have them to help you if the repair is not up to par.
What about a rental car? When your car is being loaded onto a tow-truck is not the time to wonder if you have rental-car coverage. Make sure you have this coverage right now if it is important to you. Just because you have “full coverage” doesn’t mean you have rental car coverage.
Oh crap, the deductible! If you are the one who is “at-fault” and you need repairs made to your vehicle, you will be responsible for paying your deductible, if you have one. Your insurance company will pay for the damages of the other person’s car, up to the limits of your policy.
Will this make my insurance rates go up? If you are at-fault it’s very likely that it will. How much depends on many factors because every company is different. Some have an “accident forgiveness” feature that you can earn over several years of claims free driving.
Look for the silver lining…if you are in a car accident and there are no injuries; you are dealing with an inconvenience. There is no getting around that. That’s not to say it’s no big deal.
But you’re alive and unhurt, and so is the other driver. Sometimes in the frustration of the event it’s easy to lose sight of the silver lining that you are going to the auto body shop and not the funeral home.
At the Allen Drew Insurance Agency, we want to educate people about their insurance plan. Most insurance companies and agencies spend most of the time selling insurance based on the cheapest price.
Price is important to us too, but not more important than providing the best advice and protection for the claim that you will have, sooner or later.
I hope you’ll call our office at 405-340-0606. Let’s visit about your insurance plan to see if we can help.
Or simply fill out this contact form and we’ll reach out to start our conversation. Either way, we look forward to working with you!
The information contained in this page is provided for general informational purposes only. The information is not meant as professional or expert advice, and any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.