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After a car wreck: Dealing with the insurance company

Imagine driving to the mall on the weekend. You have a full day of shopping ahead. Unfortunately, your plans changed because another vehicle made an illegal left turn in front of you. Now, your sedan is totaled, you have severe neck and back pain, and you may miss a substantial amount of work.

While dealing with your injuries can be traumatic enough, you also have to deal with the insurance company. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult when it comes to filing claims. One thing that will help you through the process is getting advice from an experienced personal injury attorney in the Kansas City area. Another thing that will help you is knowing the dos and dont's of car insurance claims.

Do this

1. As soon as you can after the accident, call your insurance agent. You can do it when you return home or afteryou visit your doctor for an assessment of your injuries. However, before you call the agent, look over your coverage and make sure you understand it.

2. While you talk with your insurer, take notes. Be sure to get the names, phone numbers and titles of each person you talk with at the insurance company. Also, ask for the supervisor's name and make a note of that as well.

3. It is not uncommon for people to have more than one insurance policy. For example, a homeowner's policy might cover something your car insurer does not. Also, check any "umbrella" policies you might have or what kind of coverage is included in your credit card memberships.

4. Take as many pictures as possible. Take pictures of your car, your injuries, the other person's car and the accident scene in general.

5. When you are describing the accident to your insurer, be honest. Your agent needs to know all of the facts. Furthermore, failure to disclose pertinent details could cause your insurer to cancel your policy and deny your claim.

Don't do this

1. Unless you feel confident in understanding your policy, do not allow your insurer to record any statements. Do not submit anything in writing, either. If you have any doubts about your coverage, be sure to talk to your attorney first.

2. Insurers usually try to get the lowest possible estimates for repairs from their preferred contractors. Do not accept the first estimate they give to you.

3. Remember that releases and waivers are permission for your insurer to not do something that may be covered by your policy. Do not sign anything that gives them an out until your attorney reviews it.

4. Time limits are important. If your policy sets time limits for providing information such as police reports, a signed proof of loss and any other documentation, be sure to provide it within the range. If you ignore the time limits, you risk not only a denial of your claim but also the right to sue.

Above all, get advice

If you have been in a car accident, it is important to understand your options when dealing with the insurance company.

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