How do I collect from an auto insurance company for a claim?

Collect your auto insurance claim by (1) taking photos of the accident, (2) contacting your insurer, and (3) hiring an attorney to speed up the process.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

Full Bio →

Written by

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 and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 17, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident auto insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one auto insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider. Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Things to Remember...

  • Collecting a payment for an insurance claim depends on a variety of factors
  • After you get into an accident, make sure you take pictures and write down a variety of information
  • Once you have obtained information, you can file a claim with your insurance provider
  • If your insurance provider seems to be taking a long time with the payout, you can speak with an attorney

Obtaining payment on a car insurance claim depends on a lot of factors.

The process is not an automatic payout, and frequently insurance companies will find issues that lower a claim and their contracted coverage.

It is important to know what procedures to take in an accident, what information to get, and how to communicate to an auto insurance company in this situation.

Much depends on who is making the claim, what information is available about the claim, and if a payout is the really the best direction for the insurance provider to take in the matter.

To find great rates from a reliable auto insurance company, enter your ZIP code into our FREE car insurance comparison tool!

Preliminary Steps

Most people don’t plan to file a claim with a car insurance company, but they buy auto insurance for that same reason.

If the need does occur due to an accident or loss, be ready with these essentials.

Dealing with auto insurance companies for a claim doesn’t have to be difficult.

To anticipate making a claim easier, a lot of work can be addressed by always having preliminary tools in a car just in case.

This can provide a significant amount of information when an accident does occur, and knowing what to do after a car accident makes doing it almost a natural occurrence when needed.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Accident in Progress

Once the accident occurs, a driver should first make sure he and his passengers are okay. If not, call an ambulance immediately.

You should also always call the police after an accident, especially if you suspect you or your passengers were injured.

If fortunate enough to be okay, don’t assume there’s no injury at all. Some injuries won’t manifest for a day or so due to shock and adrenalin.

Never agree to sign anything at an accident. Instead, a driver should contact his insurance agent for a field visit if possible.

If not, then as much information as possible should be collected at the scene and reported to the agent while in contact with him by phone.


Combined with information and photographs taken at the accident, a policyholder can file a claim with his insurance provider if it was not already initiated by the phone call to the agent during the accident.

The process starts as a verbal one, with the agent doing most of the paperwork.

However, providing the notepad information and photographs can help tremendously.

The agent will still have to do his own legwork to confirm certain details, but the more information available the better case he can make to the other driver’s insurance company.

Pushing the Paperwork

The thing that can get frustrating with car insurance companies is that they can work very slow.

Much of the work on a claim that does happen occurs behind the scenes which a policyholder does not see.

The client’s insurance provider communicates with the other parties’ insurers involved and works out a settlement after going through the accident details.

Clients essentially allow this process agreeing to their insurance policies ahead of time.

Sometimes the process goes quick but a not-so-stellar insurer will then sit on the claim before paying out to his policyholder.

The client needs to stay on top of his claim, getting updates from an insurance provider weekly.

When it seem the insurance provider is dragging its feet, it may be helpful to suggest that the next person a policyholder will talk to is an attorney.

The last thing a provider wants is another attorney involved in a claim, especially where it involves coverage already agreed to in a policy.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

After the Fact

Once a claim has been handled, a driver should consider how easy or difficult the process was.

If it was a battle or the claim was denied and then ultimately approved after being challenged, a driver should seriously think about switching to another provider.

There are enough auto insurance companies available that no one should feel trapped into one company.

Internet comparison sites can provide valuable information on alternatives with the same coverage offering and what prices they would charge for comparable plans.

Use our FREE comparison tool to compare quotes from several auto insurance companies!

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption