How do I file auto insurance company claims?

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Things to Remember...
  • To file a claim simply means to report the accident to your auto insurance company
  • Once the claim is initiated, you will receive verification in the mail
  • Always make sure you have adequate coverage in case you are in an accident
  • When submitting a claim, make sure that you have all the information from both parties involved, including the police report


If you are in an auto accident, you most likely will need to file an auto insurance claim. To file a claim simply means to report the accident to your auto insurance company.

The company will take the initiative to start the claim for you. Once the claim is initiated, you will receive verification in the mail.

Many people are unaware that most auto insurance companies allow you to file an auto insurance claim 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some insurance companies will allow you to file an insurance claim online.

However, most insurance companies offer a toll-free number to call when you need to file a claim. The claim number to call is usually printed right on the insurance verification card that you carry with you when you drive.

The claim number to call is usually printed right on the insurance verification card that you carry with you when you drive.

In addition to filing claims online, compare auto insurance rates with our FREE car insurance comparison tool when you enter your ZIP code.

What to Do if You Are in an Accident

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If you are in an accident, first move the vehicles out of the way of traffic. Move the cars involved to the side of the road or onto a side street.

An auto insurance company would like you to report the accident to them, but they also recommend that you call the police and advise them that you have been in an accident.

They will determine whether they need to come to the scene or if you can simply file an accident report within the next few days following the accident.

If, by chance, you are hit by another driver in a “hit and run” accident, where the other driver flees the scene, absolutely call the police.

In most states, the other driver faces criminal charges for fleeing the scene of an accident.

Next, make sure you and all involved are okay. If anyone needs assistance, make sure to call 911 and ask for help. If everyone is okay, gather your composure and assess the damage to see if you can drive the car.

Try to take some photos with your cell phone camera, if possible. Having photos of the damage done to the car, in addition to the conditions and area, will help in case you need to go to court.

Also, photos are helpful if your auto insurance company needs to pursue injury claims with the other driver’s carrier. Try to take photos of the other driver, if they will allow.

Obtain the license plate number, as well as the year, make and model of the other autos involved. Make sure to record the state of each license plate, as well.

Get the other driver’s license number, as well as their insurance carrier and policy information. Make sure to get the names and numbers of any individuals who witness the accident.

What NOT to Do if You Are in an Accident

Never admit fault if you are in an accident. If you live in an “at fault” state, the fault will be determined from the circumstances and the report.

You automatically place yourself at a disadvantage if you state that you were at fault.

Many people are so shaken up after an accident, they may apologize and admit fault before they even think about it. Allow the fault to be assigned from the circumstances and the report of the accident.

Take Additional Notes

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If you have a piece of paper handy, write down the details about what was happening before and during the accident.

For example, jot down the speed you were going and the approximate speed of the other vehicle. Write down the direction you were traveling, as well as the direction of the other vehicle.

Write down what you can remember about how the impact occurred. Write down the road and weather conditions, and make a note about traffic conditions, as well.

Once a police accident report has been filed, obtain the report number.

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File the Insurance Claim

When you are in a safe place, call your insurance carrier or log onto their online claim center. Report the accident to your carrier.

You will need the following information in hand when filing the claim:

  • Your Policy Number and Information
  • Location, Date and Time of the Accident
  • Police Department, Police Report Number
  • Names and Numbers for All Involved
  • Information About All Other Vehicles
  • Names and Numbers of Any Witnesses
  • Description of the Accident
  • Current Location and Condition of Your Vehicle (Is it drivable?)
  • Description of Damage to Other Vehicles
  • Description of Injuries to Others
  • Description of Any Property Damage

Once you have filed the claim, your insurance carrier will advise you about what to do next. If you need to have your vehicle towed, let them know.

You may have coverage on your policy to cover the tow. If your car can be repaired and you have a body shop, notify your carrier. In most cases, they will work with your chosen auto repair shop.

Your insurance carrier will likely dispatch an insurance adjuster to view the vehicle. However, you normally do not need to be present for this assessment.

Your carrier will assign a claims agent to work with you to resolve your claim and repair your car, or make sure you get paid for the claim.

Make Sure You Have Car Insurance Coverage in Case of an Accident

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Always make sure you have adequate coverage in case you are in an accident. To get the best deal on car insurance, shop around for the best policy and rates using an online comparison tool.

Never has it been easier to shop around and compare car insurance rates. An online comparison tool allows you to enter your ZIP code to find car insurance companies that provide policies to drivers in your area.

Use our FREE auto insurance comparison tool below! Just enter your zip code and start comparing rates now!

Next, define the type of policy to compare. Online comparison tools allow you to compare rates for similar policies between different companies.

Enter your ZIP code into our FREE car insurance comparison tool to compare quotes now. Get the best rates possible for the policy you need by shopping around with an online comparison tool.

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