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Guide, Process & Tips and if you are involved in an automobile accident
If this is an emergency, please call 911 immediately
1. If you are at the accident scene, take steps to protect your safety
- Move the vehicles out of traffic and to a safe location on the side of the road
- Do not walk around in traffic to inspect vehicles or talk to the other parties
- Do not engage the other parties about who was at fault or what happened
- If the other party appears angry or volatile, get back in your car and call 911
- Stay calm
2. Gathering information
- If the police are coming, do not provide the other party with your personal information. This belongs in the police report, but not in a stranger’s possession
- If the police are NOT coming, try to get the following information at the scene:
- Names and driver’s license numbers of all drivers involved
- Year/make/model/license plate # of other vehicles involved
- Number of people in each car
- Addresses and phone numbers of other drivers
- Names of other driver’s insurance companies, and their policy numbers
- TAKE PHOTOS of the vehicle damage AND OF THE OTHER PARTIES involved if possible
** Even if you believe that you might be at fault in the accident, do not discuss fault with the police or other parties. Allow experts (the police or claims adjusters) to determine fault. STICK TO THE FACTS OF THE ACCIDENT.
3. Reporting the information
- Call your Insurance Companies claims department as soon as possible
- Have all of the information you gathered ready for the claims representative
- After you have provided your information to our company, our goal is to have a claims adjuster contact you within 24 hours to assist you in a fast and smooth claims process. Their assistance will include:
- Helping you decide how your car will be inspected (if needed)
- Suggesting trusted repair shops in your area
- Helping you arrange for a rental car (if needed and have the coverage )
- Discussing the claims flow so you know what to expect
- Answering any questions that you have
- Settling your claim quickly and fairly and getting you back on the road
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Frequently Asked Questions About Claims
Quickly find answers to your most common questions below
Do I need to report this claim to the state?
Please contact our agency to discuss your options and get professional advice before filing. We recommend that you check with your state’s motor vehicle department for your obligations under the law. Many motor vehicle departments have websites with instructions and forms.
How does the claim process start?
Your Claims Representative will contact you, and any other parties involved, to collect all the information we need to resolve your claim. In some instances, we may ask for your recorded statement to capture the details of the incident.
How long will the claim process take?
The amount of time it takes to resolve your claim varies, although it’s always our goal to resolve it as quickly as possible.
What if my vehicle was stolen and not recovered?
A Total Loss Adjuster will contact you to explain how we determine the value of your vehicle. Once we determine the value, the Total Loss Adjuster will provide you with a detailed explanation of our evaluation.
What if my vehicle is a total loss?
A ‘total loss’ means the damage to your vehicle is more than your vehicle is worth. If your vehicle is a total loss, a Total Loss Adjuster will contact you and provide you with a detailed explanation of our evaluation.
How is a total loss determined?
There are several factors that determine if your vehicle is a total loss, including:
- Severity of damage
- Vehicle age
- Vehicle condition
- Market value of vehicle before the accident
- Salvage value of the damaged vehicle
Some states have laws dictating how total losses must be calculated.
If my vehicle is recovered, how will the damage to my vehicle be determined?
Your Claims Representative or the Guaranteed Repair Network shop you have chosen will write an estimate for your damages. If your damage review has not already been scheduled, please contact your Claims Representative as soon as possible.
What is the Guaranteed Repair Network?
It is a partnership program between your Company and selected collision repair facilities that meet or exceed stringent industry standards. Using a Guaranteed Repair Network shop where available in your area provides the following benefits:
- Convenience: With more than 2,000 shops nationwide, both the estimate and repair will be completed at a location near you.
- Price: Repairs will be completed at negotiated rates so there are no surprises.
- Quality: All Guaranteed Repair Network shops have been inspected and approved by Your Carrier and meet or exceed industry standards.
- Guaranteed: Your repairs are guaranteed for as long as you own the vehicle.
Please note that the choice of repair shops is always yours, and you are under no obligation to use a recommended repair service. The amount for repairs, as determined by a Guaranteed Repair Network shop, will be payable to you whether or not you use their services. Your Insurance Carrier has no financial interest in any of our Guaranteed Repair Network shops.
What if my vehicle is not drivable?
Have your vehicle moved to a storage facility or repair shop of your choice and notify us of their information. Also, please let us know if your vehicle is in a location that is charging storage fees. Do not authorize repairs until we’ve had a chance to review the damage to your vehicle and determine coverage and estimated repair costs.
What do I do after I receive my estimate?
If you’re uncertain about which repair facility to select, please contact your Claims Representative for assistance. Remember, the choice of repair shops is yours. The shop will schedule your repairs and or any necessary parts. Please confirm that the shop has received the parts before dropping off your vehicle for repairs.
How is payment made?
Your Insurance Carrier will issue a check for the repair costs minus any applicable deductible. If you have a lienholder on your vehicle, we will issue the payment to you and your repair shop of choice. If you have not selected a shop, we will issue payment to you and your lienholder.
If you choose a Guaranteed Repair Network shop, we will send the payment for repairs directly to that shop. You are responsible for any applicable deductible or any cost of repairs that are not related to your claim. These payments should be made directly to the shop.
We recommend that you thoroughly inspect your vehicle when you pick it up to make sure you’re satisfied with the repairs. If you have any concerns about the repairs, tell the repair shop first. Then, if you’re not satisfied with their response, contact your Claims Representative.
What if additional damage is found after the initial estimate?
If the repair shop finds additional or hidden damage, or writes a higher estimate, they should contact your Claims Representative. If necessary, your company will work with your shop to make sure the estimate is updated. Any additional approved payments will be issued directly to the shop.
Does my insurance pay for a rental vehicle while my vehicle is in the shop?
Your rental policy has a daily and maximum limit. It’s your responsibility to pay any costs that exceed these limits. You’re also responsible for paying for the following:
- Any expenses that are incurred after your repairs are complete
- Fueling charges
- Loss damage waivers (additional rental vehicle insurance)
- Insurance or fees charged for underage drivers (typically, drivers younger than 25)
“Please note that the choice of rental companies is always yours and you are under no obligation to use a recommended rental agency.”
Will I need to give the rental company a deposit?
The rental company may require a deposit by credit card or cash. Please contact the rental company directly to discuss these options.
How long can I keep my rental if my vehicle is a total loss?
Your rental will end following a reasonable time period after we’ve notified you of the value of your vehicle, or when your overall rental limit is exhausted, whichever comes first. As a result, our payment will also be limited to the period of time reasonably required to repair or replace the vehicle. This same information also applies if your vehicle was stolen and not recovered.
How long can I keep my rental vehicle if my vehicle is repairable?
The amount of time we will pay for a rental vehicle is based on how long the repair will take. This time period is listed under “days to repair” on the estimate you receive.
When does the rental period begin?
Your rental begins the day repairs are scheduled to start and after the parts are received by the repair shop. We recommend that you schedule repairs early in the week to avoid delays. The rental period does not include unnecessary delays, such as:
- Vehicle owner fails to notify us of the vehicle recovery location in a timely manner.
- Vehicle owner fails to release the vehicle from a tow yard in a timely manner.
- Vehicle owner does not authorize the shop to start repairs.
- Repair shop fails to secure the necessary parts ahead of time when the vehicle is safe to drive.
Repair shop delays the completion of the repairs or release of the vehicle when the repairs have been completed.
How can I help the process run smoothly?
Follow these steps if they are applicable to your situation:
- If your vehicle is safe to drive, don’t leave it for repairs until the parts have been delivered to the shop.
- If your vehicle is not drivable or is not safe to drive, make sure it is taken to a repair shop that can start the repairs immediately. Of course, you can use any shop you choose.
- Schedule repairs early in the week to avoid delays.
- Make sure your estimate is written and approved by Your Insurance Carrier.
My vehicle is in the shop. What now?
Check with the repair shop frequently to make sure the repairs related to your claim will be completed promptly. If additional time is needed, please notify your Claims Representative to review your rental needs.
My stolen vehicle had a child safety seat in it. What should I do?
Notify your Claims Representative. They may ask you for a receipt or some other proof of purchase.
All benefits described are subject to limitations as outlined in your policy. Please refer to your policy for definitions of these benefits and any exclusions that may apply. The information provided is intended to address frequently asked questions, and is not a part of your policy. No waiver or estoppel is intended nor should be inferred.