Were you recently in a car accident in Bakersfield? If so, you likely took steps to protect your passengers and other injured people at the scene. You might even have required some medical treatment yourself. Now that everyone is out of danger, it’s time to contact your insurance company and learn more about filing a claim. Here’s what to do if you have State Farm as your insurance carrier.
Know When to File a Claim
When is the best time to file a claim? The best answer is as soon as you’re able. Your insurance company should be one of the first calls you make, aside from calling emergency medical services in the event of an injury-causing accident. Your insurance agent will guide you through the claims process that’s to follow, but in the meantime, have the following information handy when you call your agent the first time:
- Your policy number
- Your identifiable information (i.e. name and date of birth)
- Your license plate number and driver’s license number
If you have it available, it also helps to have the following information to aid the claims process:
- Descriptions of the vehicles involved in the accident (year, make, and model)
- Insurance companies and policy numbers of other drivers involved
- Names and numbers of any eyewitnesses to the accident
- The responding officer’s name and badge number
Be Familiar with Your Coverage
Remember that insurance policies can vary greatly, depending on how much you pay for your premiums each month. California law requires certain insurance minimums, but you may have more optional coverages on your policy. A few factors, including optional coverages, may affect your claims process:
- Do you have rental reimbursement coverage? If your vehicle sustained significant damage, it might take time to make repairs. For this reason, many people elect rental reimbursement coverage, which provides transportation while the car is in the shop. Before you rent a vehicle, check the terms of your policy for coverage limits and other pertinent information.
- What is your deductible? Depending on the terms of your policy, you have a deductible to meet before the insurance company will pay for damages. If your deductible is $500 and you incur $2,000 in damages, for example, your insurance company will offer to cover $1,500.
Know How to File Your Claim
State Farm provides several options for filing a car accident claim: phone, online, and the State Farm app. With the app, you can begin to file the claim directly at the accident scene and type in essential information, such as the other driver’s policy number, while it’s still fresh in your mind. You can always fill in more details as you go along. The State Farm app also allows you to track the progress of your claim, upload documentation, and learn answers to common questions regarding insurance claims.
When filing your claim and additional documentation, keep deadlines in mind. The insurance company will likely advise you of certain time limits for submitting supporting evidence, such as medical records and repair bills. It’s important to follow these deadlines carefully, as failing to submit documentation in time could lead to a denial of coverage.
Know the Basic Dos and Don’ts
Finally, be familiar with the basic dos and don’ts of talking to insurance companies:
- Do not sign a medical release too early. It’s essential to allow your claims adjuster access to your records by the deadline, but you should wait until a provider makes note of the full extent of your injuries before signing any releases.
- Don’t sign any documentation from an insurance company or agree to recorded statements unless you have the approval of a Bakersfield car accident lawyer.
Knowing how to navigate your State Farm claim can bring a speedier resolution to your claim. Following these tips will help you handle your car accident claim with State Farm like a pro.