• Steps for Filing a Claim When You’re Out of State

    Filing a claim varies from state to state but the steps to file one are similar. While a personal injury claim requires another level of proof, an auto insurance claim for the most part, is simple. Here’s how to file a claim when you’re out of state.

    Step 1 – Call Emergency Services

    If you have a cell phone, call 911. Let the dispatcher know what happened and tell them you need a police officer. Request an ambulance if needed.

    Step 2 – Exchange Information

    Exchange information with the other driver including license plate numbers, car insurance, contact information and driver’s license numbers.

    Step 3 – Find Witnesses

    Look around for any witnesses who might be willing to report what they may have seen, and get their contact information. If you are not able to locate a witness, the police report will be your backup information on the other driver and any witnesses.

    In some states and jurisdictions, there are police officers that try to avoid making an accident report if they feel there is less than $500 in damages. If this happens, insist that the officer make an incident report. This independent record of what happened will come in handy when or if the other party changes their story.

    Step 4 – Call Your Provider

    Make contact with your insurance company as soon as possible. If you have a cell phone, call them from the accident scene and tell them what happened. You need to file a claim whether the accident was your fault or not. Your carrier has to protect your interest and you will get better service. If you only have no-fault insurance, you are required to file a claim with your own carrier.

    Step 5 – Write It Down

    Within 24 hours of the accident (while your memory is still fresh), make a written statement of what happened. This will prepare you for when the other party’s insurance carrier calls you for your version of what caused the accident.

    Step 6 – Claims Adjustment

    The claims adjuster will come out to check the damage and make an estimate for repairs or replacement. If you feel that the estimate is to low, you can ask your carrier for an arbitration form to resolve the dispute.

    All insurance claims require you to provide proof of damage or injury before they pay. According to the National Association of Independent Insurers, there are five elements needed for proof:

    • What you tell the insurance company
    • What the other party tells them
    • A police report
    • Witnesses
    • Physical damage at the scene

    Car insurance laws or rules differ from state to state. If the accident happened out of state, find out what the laws of that state are and get in touch with your carrier right away. Knowing your policy and your rights will help you if or when an accident occurs, so take time to read your policy.