The amount you can get for a car accident settlement from your insurance company can vary, depending on the damages incurred, the costs of repair and whether there are medical bills to take into consideration. It's worth noting that you won't be able to get more than the at fault party's insurance policy limits. For example, for limits of 25/50/25 on liability insurance, you can get at most $25,000 for body injury per person ($50,000 per accident) and $25,000 for property damage. However, if the policy limits aren't reached and you're still not satisfied with the offer, you can always negotiate a settlement with the claims adjuster.
The best way to make the negotiation process move smoothly is to document your property damage and medical expenses as much as possible. The more evidence you have, the better your chances are of having your claim settled. Generally, bodily injury claims are more complicated to settle than property damage claims.
You should also remember that insurance companies don’t always operate with your best interests in mind. So, don’t feel obligated to accept the first settlement offer that they make, especially if you know that you’re entitled to more.
If negotiations are unsuccessful, you can consider hiring an attorney to help you through the process. But if you think the insurer is acting in bad faith, then you should report them to your state’s regulator.
You could have as little as 30 days to file a car insurance claim, or you could have months or even two to three years. Your policy probably states that you should report an accident or possible claim right away, but reporting an accident is different than filing a claim. After “promptly” reporting, you’ll have some time to file the official claim. Check your policy or contact your insurer directly for exact deadlines.… read full answer
If you intend to file a claim in court, you typically have two to three years after the accident to pursue damages in a lawsuit. Each state has its own statute of limitations for filing a claim in court, and deadlines can be different for personal injury and property damage claims. State laws range from one to six years, but two to three is most common.
Why is there a time limit on car insurance claims?
Time limits are in place to protect the insurance company’s ability to investigate a claim. Your insurer will collect a lot of information about the accident, including witness statements, police reports, photos of damage, medical and auto repair bills, and more. The insurance company may also send an adjuster to the scene of the accident or to inspect damaged property in person. As time goes on, evidence degrades and memories become foggy. Time limits make sure the accident can be thoroughly and accurately investigated.
There are reasons you may want to delay filing a claim, though. It may take weeks for the symptoms of certain injuries to show. You may also be getting treatments on a doctor’s schedule or want to seek a second medical opinion. Property damage is usually easier to see, but you may not find out about major problems with the alignment, suspension, or exhaust system until your car is in the shop weeks later. Since most insurers won’t allow you to file more than one claim per accident, it might be better to delay filing, so you don’t leave out something insurance would have covered.
While there are situations when it makes sense to wait, it’s almost always in your best interest to file a claim with your insurance company right away. The reality is the longer you wait, the more likely it is the insurance company will deny your claim. But you can still file a claim and even get it approved as long as your delay doesn’t prevent the insurer from investigating properly.
To file an auto insurance claim against someone else, the driver needs to gather the other driver's information, take pictures of the scene, report the accident to the police, contact their insurance, and then wait for other driver's insurance to pay.
1. Collect important information from the other driver at the scene
Be sure to get their name, address, insurance policy details, and driver’s license and plate numbers.
2. Take pictures at the scene
Document the damage to each vehicle and the entire accident with both cars as they sit immediately after, if possible.
3. Call the police and gather contact information and statements from witnesses
Depending on state laws, you may be required to file a police report. The police will determine who is at-fault and issue citations as needed.
4. Contact your insurance company as soon as reasonably possible
Notifying your insurer about a possible claim is required under the terms of your policy. They will follow up and represent you with the other driver’s insurance company after you provide the information you collected at the scene. The insurance companies will determine fault, taking into account police reports, statements, and physical evidence.
5. Wait for the other driver’s insurance company to determine fault
If the other driver’s insurance company determines their policyholder is at-fault, the insurer will settle your claim. If they deny your claim, you can file with your own insurer as long as you have collision coverage.
You do not have to contact the other driver’s insurance company to resolve your claim. It is the other driver’s responsibility to notify their own insurer about a possible claim, and your insurance company will contact them on your behalf anyway. Most insurers try to resolve claims within 30 days, but it could take less or more time than that.
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