How do I file a car insurance claim?

Here’s what you need to know about the car insurance claim process.

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You've just been in a car accident. On top of making sure everyone's okay (and hopefully they are), it can be overwhelming to remember what to do next.  

So, where do you start? Below are some basic things to do first. We've also shared some questions to consider asking your insurance agent or claim representative. 

When do I need file a car insurance claim?


Call your independent agent as soon as possible. This should be your next step after calling for emergency help (if needed), regardless of who is at fault if you're in a collision. If your vehicle is stolen or vandalized you should contact the police. Call insurance agent or company even if damage appears to be minor, to find out if you are covered for this loss.

What do I need to file a car insurance claim?


You will need the following items:

  • Name
  • Policy number
  • Start and end date of policy
  • Date and time of incident
  • Name, addresses, and phone numbers of all drivers, passengers, and witnesses
  • Driver's license and license plate numbers for all drivers

Also, take note of any personal harm and take photos of the damage. You may need sworn statement of the details of the accident and a proof of claim form. You will need a copy of the police report, if there is one.

What are the steps to a car insurance claim?


Once you contact the car insurance company, your case will go through the following steps.

  • Case assignment to a professional at State Auto who will work on your claim.
  • Discussion with your claims professional about your coverages and the situation. This is where you will give most of the information about your claim.
  • Evaluation by your claims professional. This can include inspecting your car, examining evidence of any injury claims, and the payment of your deductible.
  • Resolution of the case, including getting your car back in tip-top shape. You can even pick your own repair shop.
  • Closing of the case but, keep copies of your paper work just in case you need to refer back to them.

What questions should I ask when filing a car insurance claim

These are questions you may want to ask your insurance claim representative to clarify: 

  • Does my policy have a time limit for filing claims and submitting bills?
  • Is there a time limit for resolving claims disputes?
  • If I need to submit additional information, is there a time limit?
  • When can I expect the insurance company to contact me?
  • Do I need to get repair estimates for the damage to my car?
  • Will my policy pay for a rental car while my car is being repaired; If so, how much?

Remember, each state has its own laws governing the claims process. If you have any questions, call your independent agent for more information.