We all hope that it never happens, but chances are that if you drive, you will get into an accident sooner or later. When it happens, you should know how insurance claims work, so you get the right compensation. New York is one of a handful of states that have “no-fault” car insurance laws. This means that a driver’s auto insurance provider will pay some or all crash-related expenses if that accident is deemed legitimate. They are also obligated to pay these expenses now, and in the future, as long as any long-term and underlying issues are deemed to be as a result of the original crash.
How Does it Work?
If you have a no-fault insurance cover, the first place to turn to when you get into an accident is to your insurance provider. They will assess the situation and compensate you for medical expenses, lost income, or wages. as well as any other losses that are a result of your accident. Minor injury claims are usually resolved quickly by the insurance company no matter whose fault it was. It is important to note that no-fault insurance claims do not cover non-economic damages. These can include damages such as pain and suffering.
New York laws mandate that every motorist has liability insurance of at least $25,000 or $50,000 for bodily injury to a single person and all persons respectively. Drivers must also carry a minimum of $10,000 in liability for property damage. If related expenses exceed $50,000, one can apply for additional no-fault benefits from their car’s insurance provider or from an auto policy of a close relative.
No-fault claims can only be filed with the insurance provider for the car the injured party was occupying at the time of the accident. This applies whether they were passengers or the driver.
If a pedestrian gets struck by a car, they should file a claim with the car’s insurance provider. If the car was uninsured, the pedestrian may file a claim with the insurer of a close relative who had an auto insurance policy at the time of the accident.
Steps to Follow When Making an Auto Insurance Claim
The insurance claims process can be complicated for people who do not know it well. The good news is that once you understand the process, it becomes a lot easier to file your claim. After being involved in a car crash, you should collect all relevant documents and have them close because they will be needed. These documents can include photos, insurance papers as well as handwritten or recorded accounts of the accident and damage. There are five main steps to follow after you have done this, and we will look at them all below.
Call Your Insurance Provider or Broker
Calling your insurance provider or broker should help you know what steps to take to ensure your claim is successful. For this, you should always have their information close so that you can get to it quickly after an incident. They will likely ask for all documents and accounts for the accident. After they have everything they need and have advised you on what to do, they will usually assign you an adjuster, so that they can help you continue with your claim.
The Investigation Begins
After you have reported the claim and provided all the relevant documents and accounts, the insurance company will launch an investigation. Many insurance companies task their adjusters with this responsibility. During the course of their investigation, they will assess how much damage you are covered for. The adjuster is also tasked with identifying who is liable for the accident. You can help them do this by providing witnesses or the other party’s insurance information.
Your Policy is Checked
Once the investigation is done, the adjuster will go through your insurance policy. The main aim of doing this is to determine what is or is not covered by your insurance policy. This goes a long way in assessing how much you will be compensated for, as well as any deductibles that are applicable to your case.
The Damage is Evaluated
Your insurance company may hire engineers, appraisers, or contractors to offer advice and help evaluate the extent of the damage done. Once this is done, they will give you a list of approved shops where you can get your vehicle repaired. If they deem your car to be too damaged to repair, they can provide you with a new car, although this is rarely done.
Payment is Arranged
Once the vehicle is repaired and all items lost during the accident replaced, the adjuster assigned to your case will get in touch to settle your case and for any applicable payments. Remember that the amount of time it takes for the adjuster to get in touch with you will depend on the severity and complexity of your case.
Trust the Adjuster
Although it might seem that the insurance company might do everything it can to save some pennies, your adjuster will usually do everything they can to ensure you get treated and compensated right.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
Most people do not like dealing with insurance companies, so if they think they caused an accident, they will usually give you their insurance information and let your insurance company take it from there. In some cases, they may not, and this is where you need to involve the police and possibly call your lawyer. The police will assess the situation to determine who is at fault and your lawyer will keep you from saying something that might be used against you.
If there are any criminal charges mentioned, you need your lawyer there to give you advice and to tell you what to do. They will help you with bail if it is set, and also help find out what happened so that they can defend you to the best of their ability.
Once you understand the insurance claims process, you will not be anxious about filing a claim. This information also eliminates the impatience that comes with waiting for an answer about how much you will be compensated for, as it helps you know approximately when you will have this information.