The majority of drivers in Georgia consider calling 911 after they have been in a car accident. When a 911 call is made in this situation, a police officer will arrive at the scene to investigate the collision and complete a report.
However, in relatively minor collisions, drivers may not want to call the police. In these situations, people frequently wonder if they can submit an insurance claim without needing to supply a police report.
A car accident lawyer will not only handle personal injury lawsuits, but they can also take over communication with insurance adjusters and claim submissions. Due to the situation and questions the insurance company may have, it is important to have a knowledgeable Atlanta car accident lawyer like the team at John Foy & Associates.
When Would You File a Car Insurance Claim?
When considering whether or not to make a claim, some of the key aspects to consider are whether there is property damage or bodily injuries, what kind of coverage you have, and the relationship between the parties involved.
Remember, many insurance companies have a time frame on when you can file an insurance claim, and they generally will say to report the accident ASAP. However, each state does have a statute of limitations to file an insurance claim and a different limitation on reporting the accident. For example, under Georgia state law, drivers must file an insurance claim within two years for personal injury and four years for property damage.
Also, state law requires that drivers report the accident at the scene/immediately, whereas some states allow up to 10 or even 30 days to report. Ask for a copy of the report for your records and know how to read a Georgia accident report.
If a single-vehicle event results in significant damage to your car, submit a claim. In most single-car collisions, collision insurance will cover your repairs, less the deductible. You will be responsible for covering the cost of repairs if you don’t have collision coverage. Your comprehensive auto insurance would take effect if you collided with a deer or other animal.
A claim might not be required if a minor accident simply impacts you and your car. Consider the scenario where you rear-end a post, and the bumper of your car suffers a little ding. You can decide that it is not worth it to run the risk of having your rates go up by filing a claim.
Always make a claim if you are at fault in a serious incident and cause damage to someone else’s car. Exercise care if someone else is at fault and offers to cover the cost out of their own pocket. Almost always, if there has been bodily harm, you should submit a claim. It will be more difficult for your insurance to acquire information to support you if anyone else involved in the accident sues you weeks or months after the accident since you did not report it.
You may decide not to make a claim if you are not at fault in an accident. The at-fault motorist might be inclined to pay you immediately if the damage to your car is not severe. A claim may result in a higher premium even if you are not at fault.
Additionally, it’s usually not worthwhile submitting a claim if the cost of repairs is less than the deductible of your insurance policy. Your premiums will increase and remain high for at least three years.
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What Do You Need to File a Car Insurance Claim in Georgia?
After an auto accident where serious damages were incurred, you will want to file an insurance claim. There are many tips available for best practice, though the proper procedure when filing an insurance claim is to:
- Always have your insurance information in your car.
- Check with your insurance company to see if they have a preferred filing procedure (online, through a form, over the phone, or by mail).
- Familiarize yourself with the qualified repair shops and inspections before taking your car to a mechanic.
- Notify the police immediately after the accident. The insurance company will want to review the police report. You cannot file a claim without obtaining a police report.
- Obtain the name and information of the other driver, including their insurance carrier and contact. Also, get the names of any witnesses and passengers.
- Never discuss the details of the accident with anyone at the scene, and do not make an oral or written statement for the record.
- Do not say you are to blame or partially to blame (even if you know you are).
- Take pictures and keep records of the scene and any conditions are the scene (potholes, weather, traffic signs, speed limits, traffic flow, etc.).
- Notify the insurance as soon as possible after the accident, usually within the first 24 hours, as required under Georgia state law.
Following these tips and keeping track of the proper information with allow you to file a successful claim with your insurance provider or the other driver’s insurance provider. One last tip, keep your story straight and never embellish when speaking to the insurance adjusters.
How to File a Car Insurance Claim
Keep in mind that each insurance provider will have a different process for filing a claim after an accident. The top auto insurance providers in the state of Georgia, according to data, are State Farm, Progressive, and Allstate. The top providers all have a similar process, so let us take a look at how to file a car insurance claim under State Farm in Georgia.
- The first step is to give prompt notice of the accident. Georgia requires notifying the insurer ASAP after a collision. After giving notice, the insurance provider may advise you to complete forms and give a statement.
- Under State Farm’s policy, drivers can file the claim and complete the forms through the phone app, online, or by calling their 24-hour line.
- Once the claim is properly submitted, a State Farm agent will review it and advise the driver of the next steps, which will likely be to get an estimate.
- Once the driver gets an estimate through the approved list of mechanics, then the insurance company will provide payment by either sending it directly to the shop, by sending a check, or through direct deposit.
The process may appear easy. However, there are claims that can get denied, or an adjuster could offer you less than what you paid for damages. An insurance claim denial or lower settlement can be challenged. It is important to know your rights.
Hiring an Attorney After a Car Accident
An accident is never an easy situation and can be made quite stressful by the insurance process. A car accident lawyer handles more than lawsuits. They can investigate the accident, look into claims, and take over settlement discussions with the insurance adjuster.
Talk to a car accident lawyer at John Foy & Associates today. Our lawyers are prepared to handle your claim, and chances are we have handled a similar situation with a positive outcome.