After a car accident, if you’re insured with State Farm auto, you should contact the company (specifically, your agent if you have one) as soon as possible to get the claims process started. This article lets you know what to expect when filing a car accident claim with State Farm, and discussing the accident with your adjuster.
State Farm recommends notifying your insurance agent as soon as possible after an accident. When possible, the company will send an adjuster to the accident scene to take pictures, make notes, and talk to you and the other people involved in the accident. If you've been injured, however, don't delay medical help while you wait for the adjuster to arrive. Get medical care for your injuries first, and talk to the adjuster later.
Your agent can help you file a claim with State Farm, or you can file one on State Farm's website, www.statefarm.com. State Farm also offers a “Pocket Agent” app for the iPhone and other smartphones, which you can use to file an auto insurance claim. When you file, remember to tell State Farm where your damaged vehicle is, especially if you've already had it taken to a repair shop.
State Farm allows drivers to take their damaged cars to any repair shop they choose. If you're not sure where to take your car, State Farm's Auto Damage Service Program can help you choose a repair shop endorsed by the insurance company.
The adjuster will want to see the damaged vehicle to take pictures and make notes, if he or she hasn't done so already. While you're waiting to hear from the adjuster, State Farm recommends reviewing your policy to refresh your memory about what kind of coverage you have.
After examining your car, the adjuster may want to interview you about the accident and any injuries you suffered. This interview is a standard part of the claims process. Try to answer each question honestly, without guessing or speculating. If you don't know an answer or can't remember, tell the adjuster “I don't know” or “I can't remember.” After an accident, it's normal to be confused about the details, especially if you suffered any injury. The adjuster may also ask you for copies of your medical bills, if you received medical care for an injury you suffered in the accident. Remember to keep a copy of any paperwork you send to the adjuster.
In some accidents, you may find that someone else involved in the accident has filed a claim against you, stating that you were “at fault” for causing the accident. If someone files a claim against you, contact your State Farm agent or adjuster. The agent or adjuster will investigate the claim filed against you to get a clearer picture of the facts. If your policy allows, State Farm will defend you in court if needed and will pay for claims you are legally liable to pay.
Once State Farm has completed its investigation of your claim, your adjuster or agent will offer you a settlement amount. State Farm typically bases this offer on the amount of your vehicle damage -- or its actual cash value if your car is deemed a "total loss", plus the amount of your medical costs, if any. If you do not feel a settlement compensation offer is fair, you should consult an auto insurance attorney who is licensed in your state. Your attorney can help you negotiate a more reasonable amount with State Farm if needed, or pursue a separate claim against other at-fault parties.
For everything you need to know about getting your vehicle fixed and compensation for property damage, check out Vehicle Damage After a Car Accident. To learn more about negotiation and settlement of an injury claim after a car accident -- including how to value a claim -- check out Car Accident Settlements.