How to Sort Car Insurance Claim Process and FAQs

Smartchoice Editorial
September 29, 2020

Summary

This article addresses the process and also highlighted the situation in which you can make your car insurance claim properly and appropriately. We have also mentioned some very pertinent yet very commonly asked questions in the article.

It will not help an individual to realize the importance of car insurance but at the same time gauge, the way means the right way insurance should be utilized.  Car insurance today is an important thing to have keeping in view the increase in the number of cars on the roads, the reckless drivers out there and even some too tired individuals driving to and fro without much of a thought.

It is not only a protection against others but any damage that may occur to your vehicle even when you are not present there or when the vehicle is parked.

There you were, on the road, traveling or moving towards the desired destination, just minding your own business and then wham!

An emotionally compromised and charged teenager was texting their Best friends while driving at speed, ran a red light broke the signal, and smashed right into your car. So when this happens, we really don’t like the things attached to it means whatever the case may be, it’s never fun when Murphy’s Law tail ends its ugly head and causes damage with a bunch of Rupee bills attached to it.

But that’s what insurance is there for, and having the right type of insurance plan with the required coverage in place protects you from financial devastation after the unthinkable happens. And, depending on whatever kind of damage you’re facing, filing an insurance claim might help relieve some of the financial stress. It makes you feel light and better even though you are in a mess but the taken care part puts you in the right frame of mind to move on.

What Is an Insurance Claim?

When you file an indemnification claim, you’re making a formal request to your insurance provider to receive money to help you pay for repairs and other expenses caused by a policy event (like a car accident or a rear bam) that is covered and protected under your insurance.
Do you have the right auto insurance coverage? You could be saving thousands of rupees!

After you file all the paperwork with respect to your car insurance claims, the insurance company usually sends an insurance surveyor to investigate what happened. And then, if the entitlement is validated and sanctioned, you’ll receive a bank draft in the mail to cover the losses that you have incurred due to any car crash or any other reason that is covered under your car insurance policy.

According to the Insurance Information Institute statistics in the United States of America, about one in 20 insured homeowners file a claim each year. And with Americans driving more and more each year, car insurance claims are also rising about 6% of all drivers with collision coverage filed a claim in 2017. So in Pakistan, if you’re not filing a claim now, you probably will at some point in the future! Keeping in view the increase in vehicles on the roads, the influx of lending agencies with easy and swift processes to acquire a car, and the need for mobility. We can safely assume that cases for car collisions and other issues would definitely increase in the future.
One thing that might come to your mind is….

But do you always need to file an insurance claim when you get into an accident? When to File an Insurance Claim

Sometimes we need to ponder is whether to file, or not to file the claim? Well if we take ourselves back Shakespeare never had to deal with insurance claims, but that is the question we need to revisit after an accident. And the answer is: It depends on the situation and the scenario.
A general rule of thumb which is used in any normal situation is that if your damages are less than your deductible (or just a couple of thousands above it), it’s probably not worth going through the whole trouble of filing a claim for a very small payout from your insurance provider, even if you are able to get one at all.

It’s also imperative to remember that when you file a claim, even for a very small payout there’s an active chance your insurance company will raise your premium rates, at the time of renewal. Yes, even if the other driver was at fault or you can’t control the weather due to which the incident happened. There’s even a slight chance they might cancel your policy under certain circumstances.

Let’s say you accidentally crash your car into a tree. You have a PKR 10,000 deductible on your collision coverage, and it would cost you PKR 12,000 to repair your car. Do you think it is actually worth going through the insurance claim process for just PKR2000 insurance payout and higher insurance premiums?
Well, probably not. In that scenario, you’re better off using your emergency fund to cover the repairs and parts replacement that’s what it’s there for. Once you start to feel the pain financially (means it causes a bigger dent in your wallet), that’s when you should probably file a claim.

Here are three specific circumstances when you should strongly think through about filing a claim:
1. When someone is injured.
If you’re in a car accident/collision and you, the other driver, or a passenger in either car gets hurt, that’s an automatic and a prominent reason to file a claim.

2. When it’s not clear who is at fault.
Sometimes there’s some confusion and misunderstanding about who’s to blame for an accident. In that case, you’ll let the insurance companies for both parties figure it out that whom to blame for what.

3. When you suffer a “total loss” or can’t afford to pay for the damages.
When your car is completely totaled, you’re probably staring at thousands of rupees to be paid in damages. Those are some pretty substantial costs you probably won’t be able to handle yourself. So filing a claim makes complete sense.

Every situation is different, so it’s important to get in touch with an officer from your insurance company or if you have bought insurance from smartchoice we can facilitate in making the claim filing swift and easy for you to help you weigh the pros and cons of filing a claim in your case.

How to File an Insurance Claim

So, let’s say you’ve just been in a massive car accident and the bonnet or the front of your car is smashed in like a broken trumpet. You’re okay and have not suffered any injuries, thank goodness, but it’s pretty clear your car is going to probably be a total loss and you’ll need to file an insurance claim.

What exactly do you do? By that, we mean which steps are important to be taken. We’re glad you asked! Here are some important steps to take in order to file your insurance claim.

Step 1: Call the Police if Necessary
If a crime was committed, by that we mean that if someone was hurt in an accident, or there is significant damage, don’t just stand there and waste your precious time. Call 911 and get help! And while you don’t always necessarily need a police report to make an insurance claim, it definitely doesn’t hurt to have one.
A police report will paint a clear picture of what exactly happened in an accident or at a crime scene,( if there is one) and include information that’ll make the insurance claim process much easier and quicker.

Step 2: Document Everything
Now it’s time to document and record what you can from the scene of the accident and gather all information required from all the parties involved. Think of this action/activity like a scavenger hunt. Make sure you get the following details:
• Name
• Address and phone number of the other driver(s)
• A photo of their driver’s license,
• Insurance policy numbers (if Possible)
• Year of the car
• Make and model of the car
• License and car plate numbers (of all the vehicles involved in the incident)
• Photos of the accident from all sides and angles of the car
• Detailed notes from any conversations or discussion you had with the people involved with the accident.
• Any other information that could be relevant such as road or weather conditions, plus the time of day
• If one of the drivers involved doesn’t own the vehicle they’re driving (for example if it’s a company car, or it belongs to a family member) then get the name and the address of the owner if you can.
If you’re hurt in the accident and need medical attention, you’ll also want to get reports by the physician, medical bills that you may have, and other documentation that you receive while being treated from your accident-related injuries. You usually have to call your insurer to make a claim, though you may also be able to claim online or by filling out a form and sending it by post.

Step 3: Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you and everyone involved in the accident are safe, get in touch with an agent from your insurance company and ask what else you’ll need to file your claim. Your insurance agent when you contact the provider knows the ins and outs of the claims process and will be able to give you the direction you need.

Things you need to remember if you are in an accident

1. Keep calm
First and foremost, stay as calm as you can and try not to panic or lose your temper. This is, of course, easier said than done. Even still, it will only exacerbate the situation if you don’t remain level headed. If there are other people involved, they’re likely to be as shaken up as you are. But if you retain your composure, this will have a calming effect on them too.

2. Check the scene is safe
Turn off the engine and put on your hazard lights. Warn any oncoming traffic about the accident where practical to do so. And don’t put yourself in any further danger.

3. Stay where you are
If you think someone is injured or there’s damage to vehicles or property you should stay where you are, providing it’s safe to do so. If you leave the scene of a crash you’re involved in, before fulfilling certain obligations, then you’re committing an offense.

Here are some basic questions you’ll want to ask your insurance provider representative when you speak to him:

Who do I report my claim to?

If you’re in a car accident and the other car driver is at fault, you will most likely file a claim with their insurance company. But, of the time in other cases, you’ll file a claim with your own insurance company. No matter whatever is the case, you’ll still want to call your own insurance provider and keep them in the loop of the scenario.

 How long do I have to file a claim?

As a general rule of thumb, you should report the calamity to your insurer within 24 hours, especially if you want the claim settled as soon as possible. Depending on your insurer and the type of policy you have for your car, you can have as slight as 30 days from the day of the incident or as long as maximum two years to file an insurance claim. Either way, once you get a good grip on the damage done to the car and have all the essential information you need, you should file try to file your indemnification claim as soon as reasonably possible, so as to ensure a swift and hassle-free process. Many car insurance policies have a set limit on the amount of time you have to report an accident.

What will I need to file an insurance claim?

When you file a claim, means when you call your insurance provider. You will be asked to provide some basic details, such as where and when the accident or incident took place, contact details for everyone involved in the accident or the instance, and a proper description of what happened. You might also be requested to give an estimated cost of the damage from the accident if you do have some lead on that.

Step 4: Filing Your Insurance Claim

Okay, so all steps correctly are done, you’ve called all the right people. You’ve gathered all the information you could from the scene. Now it’s time to actually file your claim.
Most insurance companies in Pakistan will allow you to file a claim online or through a mobile app, by phone with one of their agents on their established customer service lines, or by filling out a claims form and sending it to them via email or fax manually. It’s completely your choice!

What to Expect After Filing an Insurance Claim

Now what? What would be the next step? After you file your claim with your provider, the insurance company will send an insurance surveyor to investigate the calamity and the damage done. Think of the insurance surveyor as the insurance version of Sherlock Holmes minus the pipe and weird hat.
During the investigation, the insurance surveyor will take a look at all the facts of the incident to get to the bottom of what happened and who might be responsible. After they determine the cause of the accident, the surveyor will make a recommendation for how much the insurance company should pay for the loss.

Oh, and one more important thing: If you’re dealing with another insurance company’s surveyor, who is there to see and assess the damage remember their goal is to spend as little money as possible. That’s why it’s critically vital to thoroughly document the accident and all details regarding it and be completely honest about your injuries, damages, and all parts of the accident. So just in case, they try to downplay the losses that you incurred during the incident.

Talk to an Insurance Pro at Smartchoice

Whether you’ve just been in an accident or haven’t had one in years, ( shuker Alhamdolilah for that) it’s important and absolutely significant to be prepared. That means making sure you have the right coverage in place. For instance, you should know the importance and prominence of each car insurance plan and the coverage it offers. And understanding how each coverage can help you in multiple situations?

Our independent car insurance advisers at Smartchoice.pk are professionals who can review your existing policy while you are under your policy coverage and can assist you to shop around for the best coverage at the right price. That way, you’ll be ready no matter what life throws your way. As smartchoice has multiple and top of the line insurance providers associated with them comprising of varying rates along with varying charges.

Exchange details

Those involved in the accident should exchange details – see below for the things you’ll need when you call your insurer. It is a legal requirement to get certain details (and the requirement is stricter in the case of accidents involving personal injury).

Dealing with your insurer

Reporting any accident to your insurer is a must. They might ask you to take the car to an accepted local garage. If you take it to a different one for repairs, you’re unlikely to claim the costs back without it being checked by the surveyor. You’ll have to pay the excess on any claim for your vehicle which you make on your own insurance policy, but if you’re appealing off another driver for an accident that was their fault (means any damage that happened due to their negligence), you usually won’t have to pay. You may get treated with courtesy for your car while your own is getting repaired. Check your terms and conditions on the policy to find out. If your car’s been stolen or not present on the record, you might face some difficulty.

What if your car’s written off?

If and when your insurance surveyor thinks the repair costs more than the car’s worth, they might write it off and your insurer will give you a payout. The payout would be the agreed amount by the insurer at the time you purchase your insurance. To make it work whether this sum’s fair, you should check the value of cars as similar as possible to yours. If you’ve made any alterations and modifications to the car that have increased its value, send all details including receipts of work done to your insurer to negotiate a fairer price.
If by any means you and your insurer fail to reach a mutually acceptable value, or you feel you are being treated unfairly, you raise the issue and bring your issue forward to the concerned.
How to claim after being hit by an uninsured driver
If you’re in a calamity with someone without insurance, no need to worry at all because you’ll be able to obtain the claim from your own insurer. If you have a comprehensive cover (bumper to bumper cover) unless your policy says otherwise and you’ll have to pay your normal excess. If you don’t have comprehensive cover, you could claim to personal injuries and other losses if you even purchase a 3T coverage.

What about your policy deductible?

Before claiming, check out how much deductible agreed to pay that is applied to your policy. If repairing your car is less than your deductible, there’s not much point making a claim as you’ll have to pay for it all yourself anyway and you’d lose your no-claims bonus.

What basic claims can I make for a car insurance policy?

By and large, there are four main types of claim you’d make after a car accident

Personal injury: Where you or somebody else is injured during the accident. If the injured party requires further treatment or a medical check-up this could delay the whole claims process.
Physical damage (to the car): The extent of the damage to the car, the complexity of the repair work required, and whether your insurer has an approved mechanic panel or body shop can all of this and how long the claims process will take.

Total loss: If your car can’t be fixed, or if the cost of repairs is estimated uneconomical by your insurer, this is known as a total loss payout. If that is the case, the time required I for the claim to be processed usually depends on how quickly you and your insurer can agree on a reimbursement figure.

Theft: If your car is stolen, your insurer will conduct an examination once you’ve reported it to the concerned authorities so the time it takes for the procedure the claim will generally depend on how long the inquiry lasts.

How long does it take to process a car insurance claim?

It’s hard to estimate and predict exactly how long it takes to process a car insurance claim and when you’ll get your compensation for your submitted claim, as there are multiple factors involved that can affect the entire process. This includes the type of claim you’re making, if you were injured and how severe the injuries are, and whether you or any other parties involved acknowledge its fault.

What can cause a car insurance claim to be delayed?

Your car insurance claim may and can take longer to be processed as a result of the following reasons mentioned below

If after an accident, you don’t communicate with your insurance provider immediately after informing the police, or each and every time you need to during the process. This could even undermine your claim, so be sure to contact your insurance company as soon as possible and keep them abreast of anything happening to your vehicle.
Similar to the above, if you oversight any medical appointments or vehicle assessments appointments organized by your insurer your claim may be delayed by the provider or might be canceled entirely.

If you request or get repairs done from a certain mechanic or body repairing shop, especially the one which is not approved by your insurance provider.

If you disagree with your insurer about the extent to which your policy covers you, means in case of a pay-out or anything. This situation may lead to a delay in your compensation being paid.
We have discussed with you here in detail how to properly file your claim and what steps are there which need to be taken in order to resolve any issues and hindrances on the insurance claim. When understanding that claim process it is also imperative to understand that you need to get the right insurance plan. Acquiring the right plan is the right step towards a stress-free and peaceful life.

Remember, you while shopping for car insurance don’t forget to see multiple providers, their rates, and coverage. All this can be availed at smartchoice.pk one-stop-shop financial supermarket. Here you can not only view plans and providers but you can also have access to expert insurance advice without any bias and prejudice. As at smartchoice, they put in very aptly that insurance karao, tension bhagao

Some importance FAQs

Why might my car insurance claim be rejected?

Insurers may reject your claim or cancel your policy for various reasons, including

Lying: Failing to make known or being untruthful and fraudulent about key information on your vehicle and any modifications, driving history, occupation, address, or anything you might lie about that can be considered as lie is likely to invalidate your policy.

Not reading or understanding your car insurance policy: Likewise if you haven’t carefully and sensibly read and understood your policy documents. You may miss certain clauses that specify conditions under which you can or cannot claim. This is why you should always thoroughly and meticulously read your policy documents and ask your insurance provider to clarify points you don’t understand to be sure you’ve got the right cover in place when you need it in the time of emergency.

How do I contest a rejected claim?

You can fight for your rejected claim by contacting your insurance provider’s complaints department, usually either by customer helpline, post, or email, and go through the standard procedure. If they still won’t settle your claim you can talk to the insurance authority in Pakistan– either online or over the phone. This will have to be done within six months of reaching a claim stalemate. If you believe that you should be paid on the claim you have made and the insurance company refuses to do so. Whatever decision the authority makes is binding for your insurer – which means they’ll have to accept your claim if they say so.

You should only take these actions if you’re sure your insurance company is acting unfairly with you. So before you do anything untoward, carefully review your policy documents to ensure your claim is valid and you haven’t broken any terms they’ve set out.

What if I want to dispute another party’s claim?

If you’re involved in an accident and the other person believes it was your fault but you disagree, then your respective insurance providers should act as mediators and resolve the dispute. However, you’ll need to provide evidence such as photographs or even witness statements to support your claim.

Do I have to claim on my car insurance policy if I’m in an accident?

If you’re involved in a car accident you don’t have to make an assertion in fact in some cases its better if you don’t file for a claim. For example, if the destruction and loss are minor and it will be better to pay for repairs yourself than it would be with the deductible, you’ll be better off preserving your claims for something bigger and more valuable.

Note: But remember that even if you aren’t willing to claim, you will still have to inform your insurer that you were in an accident. You need to bring your insurer’s attention.

What should I do if I’m in a car accident?

These are some important things that you need to remember if you’re involved in a car accident, you should always follow these steps immediately afterward

Stop the car as soon as possible: No matter how insignificant the accident, you have to stop, turn off your engine and switch the danger lights on it’s against the law if you don’t do so.
Check for injuries: Once the car is static check yourself and your passengers for any injuries and wounds, make a note if there are or if there aren’t any injuries. This is important in case the other party involved tries to claim for an injury later on.

Call emergency services: If anyone is wounded, whether how minor or major it is, you should call the ambulance. Furthermore, if the road is blocked as a result of the accident, or if an involved people leave the scene before sharing the details, or if you suspect the driver deliberately caused the crash or was under the influence of any sedatives, you should call the police. If it’s just a negligible accident, you should call the police within 24 hours.

Exchange contact details: If you’re involved in a car accident it is legally required to leave your contact details with anyone who was affected by the incident. Even if they weren’t present at the time. For example, if you hit a parked vehicle or someone’s property, you’ll need to leave your details where the owner can easily find them. You should also make sure you are able to get the contact details of anyone else involved in the accident the key information that you need is:
• The registration number of all vehicles involved
• The registered owner of the vehicles involved
• The name, address, and contact number of all people involved
• The car insurance details of all people involved
• The names of any passengers
• The names and contact details of any witnesses

Gather evidence of the accident scene. To support your car insurance claim you should gather evidence of what happened in that situation. Take photos of any damage if possible of the vehicle. Try and make note of the following:

• The make, model, and appearance of all vehicles involved
• The date and time of the accident
• The location/address of the accident
• Reason for the accident, such as weather, lighting conditions, and the state of the road
• A rundown of all damage caused to any vehicles and property
• A rundown of any injuries caused to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians

What if the other party involved in the accident is uninsured?

If the driver who collides into you is uninsured, it’s doubly important to let the police know. If you have a comprehensive insurance policy in place your insurance provider should be able to compensate you for loss or damage. In the case that you don’t have comprehensive cover, you might be able to get compensation from a policy that is 3T, which means it would cover some of your losses.

What if someone hits my car while I’m away?

If someone hits your parked car or property while you’re not present with the vehicle, your next step will depend on whether they left details. As aforementioned above you’re legally required to leave a note for an affected with your contact and insurance information, but not all do this. Even though legally required especially if they believe they can get away with it. If they have left their details then you’d continue like it was any car accident – but if they haven’t you should look for possible eyewitnesses or CCTV footage to show what happened, or to see the license plate of the car involved.

You should also take photos of the damage done to your vehicle, maybe on a smartphone ideally, as these will record the date, time, and location. Subsequently, you will need to contact your insurance provider, either to inform them of the damage or, if you want or need, to make a claim.
Compare car insurance policies.

What happens when you make a car insurance claim?

When you report the car accident, you will be asked if you wish to make a claim on your car insurance. If you say yes, your provider will send you a claim form that needs to be completed and returned along with any supporting evidence that you may have with you. It’s a wise idea to keep a copy of the form before you send it back, in case anything gets lost along the way or due to any mishap that may occur.
You should be ready to wait a while before you hear back about your insurance claim. Even if it’s clear which driver was at fault, it’s rarely an upfront process.

If your car was damaged, a claims surveyor will review your car and estimate the repair costs. You’ll be given a list of approved garages that can repair the car without requiring upfront payment from your end. Don’t repair your car before this point (means before the surveyor has seen your car), or it may happen that your insurer may refuse to pay out and you could lose any right you may have to a claim.

If your vehicle is written off, your car insurance claim will pay out a sum equal to its value before it was damaged. This amount could be less than you were expecting, particularly if it’s a new car that has depreciated dramatically.

Will claiming on my car insurance policy affect my premiums?

Whether it’s recorded as at-fault or non-fault, your premiums will still most certainly be affected if you make a claim. This is because if you’ve been involved in an incident and even if it wasn’t your fault insurers will see you as a greater risk.

Some more FAQs that would help you to understand your car insurance

Is it worth claiming on my car insurance?

Yes. Regardless of whose fault it was, making a claim will almost always lead to an increase in your car insurance premium. Luckily, a non-fault claim won’t affect it as much as an at-fault claim will. Even if you don’t make a claim after an accident, you could still see an increase in your insurance premium.

How can I speed up my car insurance claim?

Collect personal information from those involved, including their names, phone numbers, and home and email addresses. Get insurance information, because it’s probably the first thing your surveyor will want to see. …Take pictures as long as you can do it safely. …Contact law enforcement.

Interesting fact: What color of the car gets hit the most?

Here are the colors that are associated with the greatest risk of accidents.
Black vehicles. Researchers in a few different studies have found that black cars have a much higher accident rate than cars of any other color. …
• Gray or silver vehicles. …
• Blue vehicles. …
• Red vehicles. …
• Green vehicles.

How do insurance companies determine fault?

The insurance companies that insured the drivers who were involved in the accidents determine fault. They allocate each party a relative percentage of fault, based on the drivers’ demeanor and behavior. The claims surveyor handling the case bases the degree of fault on the settings surrounding the accident.

How long does it take to get a check from car insurance?

Because many car accident settlement checks are issued by insurance companies’ out-of-state banks, they can take time to clear. In most cases, the time period for clearing the bank is 7 business days but can be 10 days in some cases.

What is the best car color to hide scratches?
White is the color you are looking for….
The best color for hiding minor dents and scratches is white. The reason for this is because it’s a bright and clean color. It helps in minimizing the appearance of scratches, especially when it’s a bright day. While white is the best color, you won’t go wrong with other lighter colors, such as silver grey.

Whose fault is it if you hit someone while reversing your car?

Yes, the person backing up is always at fault for the accident, unless both drivers were backing up at the same time. However, when it is unclear who started backing out first, a determination of fault is harder to make. Simultaneous backup accidents are among the most common parking lane accident.

What color car stays cleanest?

While the white paint hides dust and debris well, dirt kicked up from the tires may still be pretty visible. Car shoppers looking for cars that are easiest to keep clean should head towards light-colored options like beige, light blue, light grey, and silver.

What do you do when someone hits your car from behind? Or what to Do When You’re Rear-Ended
• Take a deep breath and don’t panic.
• Check for injuries. Seek medical attention for those injured.
• Call the police and report the accident.
• Take pictures and document the positions of the vehicles. …
• Get a copy of the accident report.
• Contact your insurance company.
(The process is similar to any car accident that you might be involved in)

Why do insurance companies investigate claims?

When an insurance company investigates and examines you, they are seeking to confirm that your claim is legitimate. But even when they believe your claim to be estimable, they often continue to investigate you. Insurance providers want to make sure that the scope of your claim for a loss (damages) is not an effort by you to overreach.

What about non-accident claims?

If your claim is about theft or damage to your vehicle while you were parked, the method and process are the same. If police are involved, keep a record of it, including your crime reference number.

My car’s on finance. What happens now?

If your car is a written-off or stolen, your insurer will pay you the car’s market value.
Because of depreciation, this will be less than the original value of the car. And if you bought the car on finance, this is likely to be a lot less than your outstanding finance agreement.

In most cases, this means you’ll have to pay the difference, which could leave you out of pocket.
One way to protect yourself against this is with gap insurance. It’s a policy that covers the shortfall between your payout and what you owe the finance company.

How long does a car insurance claim stay on your insurance record?

Most insurers will ask you to disclose details of any vehicle accidents, not just cars, but vans, trucks, and motorcycles to you’ve been involved in over the previous five years, even if you weren’t at fault.

Finding cheaper car insurance is quick and easy when you compare policies with Smartchoice.pk. Just provide us with a few of your details, the car you want to insure, and we’ll put together a list of quotes tailored to meet your needs and requirements. You’ll be able to compare policies from multiple insurance providers by the overall cost. Once you’ve found the right car insurance policy, just click through to the provider policy to finalize your purchase.

One thing that you need to remember is as with all types of insurance, the cheapest available policy won’t always be the best suited to you and your need. We recommend going for a balance between the coverage offered and the price you’ll pay, to ensure you don’t overpay for cover or end up underinsured.

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