At TCS Insurance Brokers in Tracy we have an actual Claims Desk in office to help our clients through the entire claims process. But not every insurance agency does what we do. So here’s a few tips to help you navigate through the difficult Auto Insurance Claims process in California.
What’s the #1 Claim Question we get……..? “What do I do when I am claiming against a person insured by the same company that also insured me?”
-This is a very common question because in this type of situation we find that consumers and insureds are taken advantage of because you may not know the rules, tricks and common practices that insurance companies have, BUT we do!
First you must know the rules about California Auto Insurance Claims
Rule 1 – Carriers can take up to 45 days before they accept, deny or delay your claim
Rule 2 – Carriers will check prior insurance reports to see what level of coverage you have and who insures you. – So if you are not insured or carry very little coverage you can expect to be treated a certain way.
Rule 3 – Claims representatives will investigate you prior to accepting any liability. – Based on what they find about you and if it matches or not to what you signed when you got insured, they will accept, deny or delay your claim.
Rule 4 – 30% of the time the first payout offered may end up being too low. – Do realize that your vehicle does take a loss in value after a claim. Plus you are entitled to get a second or third opinion before you settle.
Rule 5- Time is money and the carriers have both. – So carrying better coverage than most can help you avoid losing time and your money. Because you can easily claim on your own policy and have your insurance then subrogate the loses they paid out. Eventually making you whole again (refunding you the deductible).
Auto Insurance Claim Tips for savvy California consumers:
- Stick to the facts (avoid talking based on feelings, emotions or hearsay) – Example:”I was heading west bound on Main St. when your insured collided into the front passenger door of my vehicle. I was inside my lane and at no time did I merge.”
- Keep communications in writing (helps avoid a delayed claim process) – Email, Fax and or detailed notes with dates, times, names and numbers. When calling reference your calls. – Example: “This is my 3rd. call since my initial call back on **/**/**** at 1:15pm. I would like this to be noted.”
- Carry better coverage levels than others (this will allow you to use your own insurance to fight for you) – 99% of the insurance companies will not lift a finger or spend any money on fighting for you if they are not spending any of their own money.
- Carry Medical Payments (besides the Ambulance, Hospital, Surgery Bills this will pay your Pain & Suffering, Loss Wages and Chiropractic/Rehabilitation Costs) – In a worst case scenario where loss of life occurs, this can be used as a final expense.
- Consider taking the other driver to small claims (use this as an option when the claims reps are not treating you right) – If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot get your insurance to cover and the insurance is playing games, than easily start a small claims suit against the other party. In doing so you force their insurance company to respond and 9 times out of 10, because it costs them more to show up to court, the insurance company will rather settle with your out of court.
Insurance Brokers represent you first and foremost!
As a California Insurance Brokerage our number one responsibility is to our clientele. We use our extensive knowledge and experience to help our clients navigate the murky waters of the insurance world. From the initial purchase of the policy and through the claims process. We are there every step of the way. – “Insurance the way it’s meant to be!”