Laura Berry is a former State Farm insurance producer and insurance expert.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products, including home, life, auto, and commercial, and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, mainly in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Oct 26, 2021

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Important facts to know...

  • You must file a claim against your auto insurance policy if you want to receive benefits after an accident or other damaging event.
  • Your claim must be filed within your state’s statute of limitations.
  • Because you cannot receive compensation for repair expenses and more, it is a good idea to file a claim within a few days after the accident occurs.

Most drivers are aware that they must purchase a minimum amount of car insurance and that their state establishes minimum levels of car insurance. However, if you have never delayed filing a claim against your policy, you may not know that claims should be filed within a specific number of years after the event occurs.

If you do not meet this critical deadline when filing your claim, you run the risk of having your claim denied. If your claim is denied, you may not receive any compensation for your out-of-pocket expenses. When you understand how to file a claim on your auto insurance policy and know when to file your claim, you can make full use of your coverage.

Learn more about car insurance claims below and make sure to use our free insurance comparison tool above today!

Understanding How to Create a Car Insurance Claim

The first step to take if your vehicle has been damaged or stolen is to determine if the event is covered by your existing policy. There are many types of car insurance, and not all events are covered by all policies. One example relates to a liability-only policy not covering your own vehicle’s repair bills.

There are two primary ways to begin the claims process with your insurer. The most common method is to call the customer service phone number. Some insurers also allow you to complete the process through their website. With both of these methods, you may also be required to submit photographic evidence of the damage or a police report to complete your claim submission.

If you selected a reputable insurance company when you were shopping for coverage, your claim may be processed and approved within a few days. Remember that you will be responsible for paying your insurance deductible, and your insurance company may pay for the remaining expenses up to your coverage limits. If your claim amount exceeds the coverage limit, you will need to pay the remainder out of your own funds.

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Learning About Your Claim Deadline

State law typically has a statute of limitations for filing an auto insurance claim. The statute of limitation may range from a few years to more than five years depending on which state you are insured in. Before you delay filing your car insurance claim, research the deadline for your state. This will help you to avoid missing out on the opportunity to obtain insurance benefits to pay for vehicle damages and other related expenses.

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Top Reasons Why You Should File a Claim Today

Nobody wants to drive around in a damaged vehicle, and some vehicles may be so severely damaged that they cannot be driven legally until repairs are made. While repairing a vehicle quickly is one of the top reasons to file a claim today, it is not the only reason. Consider these other benefits associated with filing your claim now.

You Will Remember the Details Clearly

When you file an insurance claim, your agent will ask you numerous detailed questions. These may include what the weather was like, if street signs were visible, and more. You may be able to recall event details better if you submit a claim soon after the event takes place.

Witnesses May Be More Accessible

Some claims are approved based on witness testimony. However, as time passes, witnesses may be more difficult to reach, or their own memories of the events can fade away. If your claim is dependent on witness testimony, filing a claim soon is in your best interest.

Evidence Is Available

Everyone has lost important documents or meaningful photos from time to time. When you lose a police report or photos from your accident, however, this can affect the likelihood of your claim being settled in your favor. It is best to file a claim now when all evidence and documentation is readily available.

Your Insurance Rates May Increase

Some drivers want to avoid filing a claim on their car insurance because they are afraid of a rate increase. If you previously had a blotched driving history, you may even fear that your coverage will be terminated.

A rate increase or cancellation are possibilities with some insurers, but you may still be able to obtain the coverage you need through other insurers.

Each auto insurer has different guidelines for issuing coverage and determining rates. While some have a very strict policy regarding previous accidents, others are more lenient in this area. It makes sense to shop around for new auto insurance rates if you have recently been involved in an accident.

Your rates still may be higher than they are now if you switch providers, but there are some steps you can take to keep your insurance premium as low as possible. For example, these are great ways to save money on your car insurance premium:

  • Request a higher deductible
  • Opt for less coverage or lower limits on coverage
  • Look for discounts
  • Take a driver’s safety course
  • Improve your credit rating

Your car insurance offers true benefits if you are involved in an accident or have another type of loss event. However, you must file a claim with your provider if you want to obtain those benefits. While there may be consequences associated with filing a claim, you may still be able to obtain affordable coverage after you submit your most recent claim.

Don’t miss out on our free insurance comparison tool below! Just enter your zip code and start comparing rates now!