3 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Company After a Car Accident
After you get into a car accident, it is natural to have a lot of questions regarding the auto insurance claims process. If this is your first time having to make an auto insurance claim, you might not know what to expect. While you can ask as many questions as you like when speaking to a representative from the insurance company, make sure to ask at least these three key questions to get the information you need to move forward.
What Does My Policy Cover?
First, ask for information about what your current auto insurance policy covers. This will give you an idea of how much money is available to pay for your medical bills and vehicle repairs. Your insurance policy should contain at least the minimum required amounts of insurance for the State of Arizona:
- Bodily injury insurance: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
- Property damage liability insurance: $15,000 per accident.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
It is possible to reject uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage when you purchase a policy in Arizona; however, you would need to speak to an insurance agent or deny this type of coverage in writing. If you don’t remember specifically rejecting this coverage, you most likely have it on your policy.
These are only the minimum required amounts of auto insurance in Arizona. Your policy may have higher coverage limits and additional types of insurance, such as collision or comprehensive coverage. If you only have the minimum required amounts, however, your policy will only cover someone else’s losses in an accident. Your insurance will only pay for your expenses after an at-fault accident if you have supplemental coverage. Otherwise, you will need to seek coverage from an at-fault driver.
Will My Insurance Rates Increase?
Next, ask the insurance agent if the car accident will impact your insurance rates. Although the answer can rely on several factors, including your driving history, the most important is whether or not you caused the collision. In general, an insurance company will not increase your rates if you were not at fault for a crash. If the car accident was not your fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay for your losses – preventing your insurance company from having to cover them and increase your rates to make up the costs.
If, however, an investigation finds you to be partially or completely at fault for the accident, your insurance company may increase your premiums. For the most part, this is only the case if the accident caused injuries, deaths, or at least $1,000 worth of property damage. These are the only reportable accidents in Arizona. If you did cause a reportable accident, expect your insurance premiums to increase for at least the next three years to make up for what the insurance company had to spend on your claim. Your insurance agent can let you know whether or not to expect an increase.
What Should I Do Now?
If this is your first car accident, your insurance company can provide valuable information as to what to do next. In general, the first thing you should do is call the police, if you have not already done so. Calling the police from the scene of a car accident can help you prove your losses to an insurance company later, as you can use the police report as evidence.
Next, go to a hospital for your injuries. Obtaining proper medical attention is typically a requirement to qualify for insurance benefits in Arizona. From there, your insurance agent may give you a summary of the next steps to expect, such as an insurance claims adjuster contacting you to investigate the accident and review your claim.
Before going any further with the insurance process, contact a car accident lawyer in Phoenix for a consultation. A lawyer can take over conversations with an insurance company to negotiate for a fair settlement value on your behalf. An attorney can help you handle an auto insurance claim while protecting your rights.