Once you have your business vehicles and your employees insured you have nothing to worry about. Well that sounds great, but in reality you need to do more than just pay for the insurance; you need to understand it and you need to know what to do in certain situations and what your employees need to do in certain situations. The first thing you need to do is read the terms of the insurance policy, understanding the insurance is simply a must, especially for a business. Unfortunately sooner or later chances are high that some of the vehicles your employees operate will have an accident, after which you file a claim.

Usually making a claim and the whole process behind it is very simple, you file a claim, an insurer agent comes to estimate the damage and if everything is fine the insurance company will send you a check to pay for the repairs and expenses. To have the insurance company pay, you will need to provide them evidence of injury or damage. But your word is not enough, the insurance company takes several things into consideration before making a decision, those are:

  • Police report
  • Reports of witnesses
  • Physical damage at the scene
  • What you say to the insurance company
  • What the other party says to the insurance company

Process of making an insurance claim

It all begins at the scene of accident, first thing you should do is call 911, it is a common thing to do, but aside from the needed medical help due to possible injuries you also need the police report. Most states have a law that states that police must be called to make a report in any car accident. The next step is to exchange information with the other party. Some states require having in your position an insurance identification; it is normal procedure to have all of your employees have that identification in the vehicle. If by any chance you don’t have the insurance identification you need to get the license plates, phone number and insurance information from the other party.

The next step is to get something in writing, so any witnesses are a plus. Try to get their contact information if they can provide you with what they saw of the accident. In many situations police officers might try to avoid making a report if the damage is lower than $500, that is when you need to insist on a report. If it’s not possible to make an accident report, depending on the jurisdiction, insist on an incident report. Sometimes the accident can happen in a parking lot, then you might ask from the security of that object to make a report. It is very important to get that report as insurance companies will not raise the rates if the accident was not your fault.

After that is out of the way the next best thing is to call the insurance company. Even though you are not at fault it is in your interest to contact your insurance carrier, they will make your interest a priority, rather than going through the other party’s carrier. If you by any chance have no-fault insurance you have to file the claim with your insurance company. Since no-fault insurance has a threshold, everything above that threshold you can ask from the other party’s carrier.

If the other party was at fault you go along the lines listed above, file a claim through your carrier, but notify the other party’s carrier that you will seek compensation for everything your carrier doesn’t pay. That may include anything from time off work and auto rental differential to collision insurance deductible. It’s a little unconventional, you can’t get paid twice for the same thing, but you can divide what needs to be paid, that is called multiple source recovery.

After all that is done the claim is processed and the company will send an adjuster to inspect the vehicle and appraise it, what will it cost to repair it, or if it’s totaled, how much will a new car cost. In the end there is always the possibility of dispute, which may happen if you think that the compensation offered by your company is too low. In that case you can ask for an arbitration form. You must know that the dispute in such a situation will not delay your payment, you will get the money offered by the company immediately and if the dispute is solved to your benefit you will get the rest of the money the second the dispute is over. If you have issues with the offer from the carrier of the other party that is a more problematic matter, as in most cases you will have to hire a lawyer and take legal action.

Most insurance companies will go the distance to please the interest of their customers, so any claim or possible dispute will most likely go to your benefit if you follow these simple steps.