how to file a car insurance claim

If you have insurance coverage for your vehicle, then you are entitled to make a claim on your motor insurance policy in the event of an accident. When you’re filing a car insurance claim, you’re making a formal request to your insurance company to receive money to help you pay for repairs and other expenses caused by a car accident that is covered by your insurance. You’ll see the steps to follow to file a car insurance claim in this article.


There are about 6 million crashes reported by police every year in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There are steps you can take to process your insurance claims successfully. If you have a comprehensive policy you should claim from your own insurer. If someone else smashes into you, you may lodge a claim against their liability insurance. The other person’s insurer will process the claim after ascertaining that their customer was actually at fault for the collision.

Documents Required to Make a Car Insurance Claim

There are some documents that may be required by your insurance companies in order to help you file your claims. These documents may be required to validate your claim. The following is the list of documents that you need to submit at the time of making a car insurance claim:

  • Copy of your insurance policy
  • Original records of other expenses incurred
  • Copy of your driving license
  • Duly filled up and signed Claim Form
  • First Information Report (FIR) filed with the police
  • Copy of the registration certificate of your car
  • Medical receipts in case of physical injuries
  • A detailed estimate of the repairs

How to Make a Car Insurance Claim

Get a claim form from your insurer or write to the other driver or their insurer, giving details of the accident and their policy number. It is important to disclose to your insurer any independent witnesses and send them to witness statements if you can.

Insurance companies will only always pay for damages if the claims are genuine. There is how to go about this and this is exactly what you are going to learn here.


Recommended: How to File State Farm Car Insurance Claim

Filing a Claim with your Own Company

If you’ve been involved in an accident, your insurer may prefer that you open a claim with them to investigate the situation and protect yourself. Your insurer might help cover car repair or medical bills, although a deductible may be required first. If you file a claim directly with your own car insurance company, it will manage your claim from repairs to reimbursement.


Take the following steps to file a claim with your own company:

  1. Call your insurance company immediately even from the scene of the accident and inform them about the damage.
  2. Intimate the police about the incident and obtain an FIR.
  3. Record the details of the car, the driver, and the witnesses in the FIR.
  4. File a claim with your insurance company. Many insurers now offer apps that allow you to report a claim, check the status, upload photos, check your deductible, schedule an appraisal, reserve a rental car, and request reimbursements for towing and glass claims. Some apps even allow you to notify the insurance adjuster of what happened by visually re-creating the events and circumstances of your car accident.
  5. Work with the insurance adjuster. The adjuster is like the insurance company’s investigator of an accident. They inspect your car, analyze police reports, interview witnesses, gather medical bills and damage estimates, and more. After the adjuster has collected details, they will make an estimated offer for claim settlement. If you think repair or medical expenses will be more than the offer, you can attempt to negotiate.
  6.  Get repair estimates and schedule repairs. You can shop for your preferred repairer or use the one your insurer suggests.
  7.  If everything is in order, your claim will be accepted, and you will be compensated for the accident.

Filing a Third-party Claim

In a car accident, the policyholder can make two different types of claims. You can make a third-party claim against the other vehicle owner or your own damage claim. In this case, you can claim medical expenses and compensation for personal injury, property damage, and loss of earnings. Compensation can also be claimed for death if there is any.

To file a third-party claim, you should:

  1. Obtain the insurance details of the vehicle that has caused damage to your car and intimate the insurer of that vehicle about the incident.
  2. Inform the police by calling the police helpline number and file a First Information Report (FIR
  3. Report the incident to your insurance company with immediate effect within the stipulated time.
  4. Next, submit a third-party claim application with your insurer.

When to File a Claim After an Accident

Depending on the state you live in, you may have a longer time frame to file a claim, although filing sooner can help you get back to normal faster.  In Illinois, for instance, you have two years from an accident date to conclude a claim involving bodily injury and five years from the accident date for property damage. Some states have limits on how long you must wrap up any claim settlement or start a lawsuit.

Read Also: How to File State Farm Home Insurance Claim

When Not to File a Claim

If you are the one that caused damage to your vehicle and are not planning to pay for repairs yourself, you should not bother filing a claim. You may also need not bother to file a claim if your deductible is more than your damage.

What to Expect After Filing an Insurance Claim

The insurance company may send an adjuster to investigate the accident and the damage done. After they determine the cause of the accident, the adjuster will make a recommendation for how much the insurance company should pay for the loss. Some straightforward claims may take just a few hours, while others could take weeks or months.

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