Dealing with your insurance company after a car accident

Insurance companies are for-profit businesses that offer you protection in case of an accident. However, they only make money on your payments, not on claims they have to pay out.

Therefore, after an accident, when you need to file a claim with your insurance, you should take several steps.

Watch your mouth

First, avoid ever admitting any amount of fault in the accident. Communicate clearly and factually about what occurred and your resulting expenses. Do not answer questions about why you took specific actions, what actions you took that could show that you were at fault or your opinions of what took place.

Gather evidence

Your insurance company will need several things from you. First, you should get a copy of the police report. Gather witness statements and contact information. Collect any medical records, treatment recommendations and diagnoses. Get an estimate for your auto repairs. You should also write down anything you remember from the accident even if this information is only for your records.

You should also take photos of the accident scene if you can. Photograph all the vehicles involved in the incident, the street signs and stop lights and any bystanders.

Read every document

Do not sign anything you have not read and do not understand completely. Avoid signing anything that limits your legal rights. You need to have the ability to go after your full claim value. Avoid accepting initial settlements and signing settlement documents especially. Instead, learn what the full value of your claim is because it may include lengthy medical therapies that could cost much more than your initial settlement offer.

Unfortunately, you may not receive fair, prompt service from your insurance company, but understanding your rights and the process should help you during your negotiations.

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