Filing a claim
- Step 1: Understand your policy
Before you have a loss, sit down and carefully read your insurance policy. If you have any questions
about what is or is not covered, call your producer (agent) or company.
- Step 2: Exchange information
If you are involved in an accident, get the other driver's name, address, phone number, insurance
company, and the company's phone number. Be prepared to give the same information about yourself to the other driver. You can find insurance company telephone numbers on proof-of-insurance cards.
- Step 3: Identify witnesses
Ask witnesses to the accident for their names and phone numbers in case their account of the accident
- Step 4: File an accident report
If the accident causes any injury or death, or more than $1,500 damage to your vehicle or any property, or
more than $1,500 damage to any vehicle and a vehicle is towed from the accident, Oregon law requires you to file an Oregon Accident and Insurance Report directly with DMV within 72 hours (three days). Accident report forms and detailed instructions are available at police departments, sheriff offices, DMV field offices, and on DMV's Web site http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/driverid/accidentresp.shtml.
- Step 5: Notify your insurer
Contact your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. An insurance adjuster will
determine who caused the accident. If the accident wasn't your fault, you can have either your insurance
company or the at-fault driver's insurance company handle the repair or replacement of your
vehicle. If you use the other driver's company, you won't have a claim on your automobile policy and
you won't have to pay a deductible.
- Step 6: Don't release insurers too early
Don't relieve your insurance company of its responsibility until the damages are settled to your
satisfaction. For example, revert to your insurance coverage if the other party's insurance company
questions its policyholder's negligence or offers an unacceptable settlement.
- Step 7: Consider these settlement factors
Bodily injuries: You may be entitled to a monetary settlement for injuries caused by another liable party. It can take several days for some injuries to become apparent.
Damages: The insurance company is responsible to pay for the reasonable cost of repairs to your vehicle. An insurance adjuster will assess the damage. Usually, insurance companies and auto body shops negotiate disagreements about what should be repaired. If you disagree with their conclusions, you have the right to obtain another estimate at any auto body shop.
Appraisal clause: Most auto insurance policies include an appraisal clause, which can be used to help settle disputes about physical damage claims between you and your insurance company. (The appraisal clause doesn't apply for claims you file with the other party's insurance company.) If you can't reach an agreement with your company, you or your insurer can initiate the appraisal clause. Your appraiser and your insurer's appraiser then select an independent umpire to try to resolve the dispute. Check your policy or ask your producer (agent) or insurance company for more information.
- If your car is totaled
The Insurance Division provides detailed information about your rights and ways to resolve a dispute about the value of a totaled vehicle at: http://insurance.oregon.gov/consumer/consumer-tips/4845-4_vehicle-total-loss.pdf