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Filing a Collision Claim

Filing a Collision Claim

By Jeff Youngs, February 24, 2012
1. Be informed about your policy
Know what your insurance deductible is so you're prepared for any out-of-pocket expenses you may incur. Find out if your insurance policy covers common expenses, such as fees to rent a car while your vehicle is being repaired and towing charges.

2. Keep good records
Be sure to exchange driver's license and insurance information with others involved. Also consider keeping a disposable camera in your car or use the camera feature on a cell phone to take photos of the accident at the scene. Find out where your vehicle is being towed, and keep a copy of the police report if one was taken.

3. Contact your insurance company ASAP
Expect your insurance company to provide a clear, thorough explanation of the settlement process and a single contact person to assist you during the repair process. If your vehicle is "totaled," find out how they determined the vehicle's market value. Common sources include NADA and Kelley Blue Book.

4. Be involved in the repairs
Ask friends and neighbors for repair facility recommendations. Also find out the advantages of using the insurance carrier-preferred facilities. It's always a good idea to check out the facility conducting the repairs through the Better Business Bureau, where you will find ratings and reports based on consumer complaints.

5. Understand the repairs to be performed
The insurance provider should give you a clear and thorough explanation of the repair process, the parts to be used, when repairs will be completed, and the payment process, including your out-of-pocket expenses.
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