If you have never made an insurance claim before, the process can seem pretty daunting. However, if you have suffered damage to your vehicle, whether it was in an accident or because it was vandalised or had damage due to weather, you may need to make an insurance claim. After all, the reasons you have insurance is for situations such as those.
A collision claim is slightly different from other types of claims because it often involves another driver and sometimes another insurance company. If you are involved in an accident or a hit and run, your collision coverage will be very beneficial.
First, you must determine whether you have coverage for your situation. If you purchased ICBC Collision Coverage or the other driver was either partially or wholly at fault for the accident, then most or all of your repair costs for your vehicle should be covered. In addition, every basic auto plan has medical benefits and wage loss assistance after you have been injured.
Steps You Should Use in Your Collision Claim
After you had determined that you have collision coverage, you should use the following steps to make your claim with your insurance company.
- Report your claim online or by phone.
You can fill out a report online to provide basic information about the crash. You can call in this information as well. The report will get the ball rolling on the claim.
- Allow the insurance company to investigate.
The insurance company will investigate every claim before making any payouts. First, an adjuster will be assigned to the request. Then, the adjuster will contact you to get more details about what happened. He or she may also interview witnesses, take photos, and do other factual investigation. Using that information, the adjuster will determine who is liability—or legal fault—based on the rules of the road as set out in the Motor Vehicle Act. In most situations, you can check the status of your claim during this process by calling your adjuster or checking the status online.
- Get an estimate of the damage to your vehicle.
A certified estimator will visit to assess the damage to your vehicle. He or she will make a comprehensive list of the repairs that your vehicle needs and how much it will cost to make those repairs. The damage estimate will also be useful to the adjuster in assessing liability for the claim.
- Get your damaged vehicle fixed.
Once you have your estimate, you can take your car to any vehicle repair shop to get it fixed. However, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia recommends that you use an ICBC c.a.r. shop VALET facility. These facilities guarantee their repairs, which is helpful to avoid potential faulty repairs down the road. They can also do on-site repair estimates and help you arrange for transportation while your car is being repaired.
- Pay your deductible.
Usually, your insurance company will pay the repair shop directly for their work on your vehicle. However, you must still pay your deductible on your insurance plan. Generally, this amount should be provided directly to the repair shop. You may also have to pay a portion of the cost of depreciation of the vehicle as well.
Your collision may increase the cost of your insurance premium, so it is important to keep that in mind going forward. This is particularly true if you were more than 25 per cent at fault for the accident.
Getting Legal Help with Your Claim
If you need legal advice during the insurance claim process, our team of professionals at Diamond and Diamond can help. You may have a legal claim that you can assert against the at-fault driver in addition to the claim involving your own insurance company. Call 1-800-567-HURT for more information.