Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that exis...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 21, 2020

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Things to Remember...

  • Insurance companies attempt to make the process of filing claims easy for their customers by offering it online
  • If your company provides online filing services, there are three basic reasons to take advantage of the service
  • Filing a claim can be complicated, so understanding the basics is important before you consider filing online

Accidents are a sad and stressful reality of driving. The more you drive, the higher your chances are of getting in one.

Accidents are difficult to get through, so filing accident-related claims with your insurance company should not make matters worse.

Some companies streamline the claims process, and in fact, many companies have started to add online filing options on their websites.

Getting quick quotes for car insurance is just a click away when you enter your ZIP code here!

The Basics of Filing an Accident Claim

Drivers should first have a clear understanding of their insurance policy and how their insurance provider requires claims to be filed.

Most people will wait until they need to file a claim after an accident to look into the details of their policy, creating more stress and potential problems.

  • Before every getting into your car, look at your policy and identify the parameters for filings claims.
  • Then gather necessary information and place it in your car so that it is easily accessible in the event of an accident.

Almost all states require drivers to carry an insurance identification card, so make sure you have one on your person or in the vehicle.

A great resource for understanding the basics of filing an accident claim is the Insurance Information Institute (III).

The III offers a wide range of informative articles that detail the ins and outs of auto insurance.

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What to Do After an Accident

Knowing what steps to take after an accident occurs is the next stage.

Almost every insurance company wants the same basic information in the event of an accident. If you get into an accident, your first step should be getting the license plate, insurance, and contact information of the other person involved.

You will not be able to file a claim online if you do not have the other party’s information.

Next, you need to locate witnesses or make sure a police officer files an accident or incident report after the collision.

Your insurance company will want proof of what happened outside of your word. Witnesses or an unbiased, official report will fill that requirement.

You need as much written documentation in regards to the events of the accident as possible.

Finally, never confess to being at fault at the scene of the accident. After a collision occurs, emotions run high and you may not actually know what happened, especially if the accident is major.

To keep yourself safe, stay quiet and only answer questions that a police officer asks you. The other party’s insurance company could eventually use anything you say against you.

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Filing a Claim Online

Many insurance providers now allow clients to file claims digitally. Before you try to file a claim online, research what your provider requires from online claim filing.

Every insurance company is different. Some only allow certain claims to be filed online, whereas others require a completely different set of information for online claims.

If you do your research before an accident occurs and understand how your provider wants you to file claims, it can save you a lot of time and stress.

State departments of insurance can provide a wealth of information related to where you live.

Utilizing government websites can be a reliable way to find accurate information.

If your provider does allow online claims, there are three primary reasons why you should immediately take advantage of the service:

#1 – No Phone Calls

One of the hardest and most frustrating situations to go through is trying to get in contact with your insurance company during or immediately after an accident.

Even after you get in contact with someone, you still have to go through the process of explaining every detail to someone who may not be reliable.

When filing an accident-related claim online, you bypass the entire phone call process. You will never be put on hold in a stressful situation.

After you file the claim online, a representative will contact you and get any further information needed.

Instead of you having to continuously nag your provider, you simply enter the required information online and they call you. That is reason enough alone to file online!

#2 – No Waiting

For many people, an accident does not occur at a time when they can get into contact with their insurance provider.

Whether it is a holiday, late at night, or for some other reason, there are times when it is difficult to contact your provider.

In the case of a provider that offers online claims services, time does not matter, so you will not have to wait to file your claim.

In fact, many companies that offer online claims services simply require a username and password for you to access your account online.

Once you have access, the claims process can be completed at any time and in a timely fashion.

The stress of having to wait to file a claim while your car needs to be fixed is no longer an issue with digital filing. Some companies even offer Smartphone apps that allow customers to report claims at the site of the accident.

#3 – No Hassle

Filing a claim can be just as much of a hassle as talking with the representative and scheduling necessary things after the accident.

Instead of relying on a representative to schedule an adjuster to examine your vehicle or schedule repair work on the vehicle, you can use online filing sources to schedule that stuff yourself.

In fact, many insurance providers will also include rental car service for people who need to have their car fixed.

For many of the customers who purchased insurance through a provider that offers online services, filing a claim can mean never having to speak with a representative for anything.

You may never even have to worry about receiving a claims check if you go to a recommended repair shop. Many times, your insurance company will send the check directly to the shop for repairs.

Other Things to Remember

Filing a claim can be a hassle, so if your provider offers online services, utilize them and be thankful for them.

Just remember, not every insurance company requires the same information and allows the same claims to be filed digitally.

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