How Do I File an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident?

Filing an auto insurance claim ensures you receive financial assistance for vehicle repairs and medical expenses. New York is a no-fault insurance state, meaning your insurance typically covers your losses, regardless of fault. However, if you don’t file a timely claim, it can result in denied coverage and unnecessary financial burdens.

Promptly notifying your insurance company is crucial; this should be done as soon as possible. They will provide you with the necessary claim forms to fill out. Moreover, it is essential to provide accurate and comprehensive details about the accident during this process.

To ensure a smooth claims process, maintain records of all communications and follow up with your insurer as necessary to expedite the resolution of your claim.

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How an Auto Insurance Claim Process Works?

To begin an auto insurance process, there are many factors to think about, such as whether you need to cover your car loan or if you’ll need a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. So, how do you file a car insurance claim after an accident?

Here is a step-by-step guide you should adhere to following your accident in order to streamline the claims process:

Step 1: Collect Information at the Accident Scene

Your insurance claim process begins with gathering these essential information at the accident scene:

  • Exchange Information: Exchange insurance and contact details with the other driver and involve the police in creating a police report. In cases involving severe injuries, you might not have the chance to gather all the necessary information, but the police can help fill in the gaps.
  • Photograph the Damage: Use your smartphone to capture images of the damage sustained by your vehicle and the other involved vehicle. You should take pictures from multiple angles. While not obligatory, these photos can significantly assist your claims adjuster.
  • Document Witness Details: Note the names and contact information of witnesses present during the accident. This information can be valuable if your insurance adjuster needs to interview them.
  • Security Camera Footage: If the accident occurred in a residential area, check if anyone has video surveillance footage. Some people have video doorbells that might have recorded the accident as well.

Step 2: Reach Out to Your Insurance Provider

After ensuring your safety, the next critical step is promptly contacting your insurance company. Most insurers have a 24/7 claims hotline for immediate assistance, which you can find on your insurance card or the company’s website.

Moreover, begin by providing accurate and detailed information about the incident. Clearly articulate the events leading up to and during the accident. Share the details you gathered at the scene, including the other driver’s information, witness details, and any available photographs. This information is crucial for initiating the claims process and expediting your case.

You can find coverage details on your insurance company’s website if you don’t have a physical copy of your policy. Knowing your policy number is essential during this step, as it helps confirm your coverage and deductible.

For policies purchased directly from an insurance company, contact their claims department. They will guide you through the process of filing a claim. Once your claim is set up in their system, an adjuster will be assigned to your case. The adjuster plays a pivotal role in assessing the damages and facilitating the claims process.

Being proactive in reaching out to your insurance provider ensures that your claim is initiated promptly, setting the foundation for a smoother and more efficient resolution after the accident.

Step 3: Collaborate With Your Claims Adjuster

Your insurance company has appointed a claims adjuster to manage your accident case. The adjuster’s role encompasses communication with:

  • Repair facilities
  • Other insurers
  • Witnesses
  • Other parties involved

In a nutshell, they investigate the accident, assess repair estimates, and work toward resolving your claim.

Typically, you’ll communicate with your adjuster via phone, although there may be occasions for in-person meetings. Furthermore, it’s essential to know that even though your adjuster wants to make you happy with the claim process, they mainly work for the insurance company, which tries to reduce the costs related to the accident.

Step 4: Follow Up Regularly

Staying proactive during the claims process is paramount. After initiating your claim, it’s crucial to maintain regular communication with your insurance company. This proactive approach ensures that you receive timely updates on the progress of your claim.

Regular follow-ups also serve as an opportunity to provide any additional information requested by the insurance company promptly. By staying informed, you actively contribute to the efficiency of the process and help expedite the resolution.

This ongoing communication fosters clarity and transparency, ensuring that you are well aware of the developments in your claim.

Step 5: Receive Your Settlement

Once the damages are evaluated, your insurance company will provide a settlement for repairs or medical expenses. However, before accepting the settlement, it’s crucial to address all aspects of the claim thoroughly.

Carefully review the settlement offered by your insurance provider. Verify that it covers all necessary repairs, medical bills, and any other applicable expenses. If there are questions about specific details in the settlement, don’t hesitate to address them.

Open a line of communication with your claims adjuster to discuss any discrepancies or clarifications needed. This step ensures that you are comfortable with the proposed settlement and that it aligns with the actual costs incurred due to the car crash.

By approaching the settlement stage with diligence and thoroughness, you contribute to a fair and equitable resolution, minimizing the potential for misunderstandings or discrepancies in the final settlement of your claim.

What Types of Claims Do You Need to Know About?

auto insurance policy - insurance industry

In an accident, various types of claims may be necessary to address specific aspects of the situation. Your insurance company’s representative can clarify the type of claim you’re making. Still, it’s crucial to note that the coverage options you selected when purchasing your policy determine the kinds of insurance claims available.

Comprehensive and Collision Coverage

Comprehensive coverage addresses damages not caused by collisions, such as theft, vandalism, and natural disasters, offering protection for various non-collision-related incidents. 

Collision coverage, on the other hand, comes into play when your vehicle is damaged in a collision with another vehicle or object, covering repair costs or providing compensation for a total loss.

Liability Claims

Liability coverage is crucial when you’re at fault in an accident. It covers the other party’s property damage and medical expenses. Some states have minimum liability coverage requirements to ensure financial responsibility in case of an accident.

The minimum liability coverage limits in New York are typically expressed as three numbers, such as 25/50/10, representing $25,000 for bodily injury each person, $50,000 for bodily injury each accident, and $10,000 for property damage.

Meeting or exceeding these minimums is crucial for compliance with state regulations and ensuring adequate protection for all parties involved.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

PIP coverage is designed to cover medical bills and, in some cases, lost wages for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault. This coverage is mandatory in no-fault insurance states, such as New York. In New York, PIP helps facilitate prompt access to necessary medical care following an accident, contributing to a smoother and more immediate resolution of health-related concerns for those involved.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage becomes essential when you’re in a car crash with a driver who lacks insurance or has insufficient coverage. It helps cover your medical expenses and, in some cases, property damage that the at-fault driver cannot pay for.

Rental Reimbursement Coverage

Rental reimbursement coverage steps in to cover the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is undergoing repairs due to a covered claim. This ensures you have alternative transportation during the repair period.

Gap Insurance

Gap insurance is relevant for newer cars with significant depreciation. It helps you cover the cost between the actual cash value of the vehicle and the amount you still owe on your auto loan if your car is totaled.

Medical Payments Coverage

Medical payment coverage pays for medical bills for you and your passengers, regardless of fault. It can cover co-pays, deductibles, or medical costs not covered by health insurance.

In order to determine the best car insurance coverage for your needs and understand how to file a claim for additional benefits, consult with your insurance agent or an experienced car accident lawyer in New York.

Why Do You Need to File a Liability Claim?

Liability coverage addresses medical expenses and property damage incurred by other parties involved in an accident where you are at fault. Ensuring adequate liability coverage is essential, given the potential for quickly growing medical costs.

When you file a liability claim, your claims adjuster communicates with healthcare providers, a repair shop, and other relevant parties. 

This streamlines the claims process, allowing for direct processing through the insurance company. However, it’s essential to note that if the accident costs exceed your liability limits, you may be responsible for the excess expenses.

The level of liability coverage you select plays a significant role in determining your average car insurance rates. 

Therefore, it’s wise to gather multiple quotes when selecting a policy to secure the most cost-effective rates. By doing so, you can make an informed decision, balancing coverage and affordability to ensure comprehensive protection in an at-fault accident.

What Is the Time Limit for Submitting an Insurance Claim in New York?

In New York, specific deadlines must be met after being involved in a car accident, and understanding these timeframes is crucial for a smooth claims process. Here are the key deadlines accident victims need to be aware of:

  1. After an accident, it’s essential to file an accident report within 10 days. This report documents the details of the incident and is a necessary step in the claims process.
  2. You should file a no-fault claim within 30 days. No-fault insurance covers medical expenses and other benefits, regardless of fault, and adhering to this deadline is vital for accessing these benefits.
  3. The timeframe for filing for lost wages may vary, and it’s essential to understand the specific conditions and deadlines associated with this aspect of the claim.
  4. If you’re seeking New York state disability benefits, then you should file the claim within 30 days to ensure the timely processing of your claims.
  5. If a notice of claim is required, it must be filed within 90 days. This formal statement indicates an intention to file a lawsuit and is often relevant in cases involving government entities.
  6. While there isn’t a specific deadline for filing a claim against the other driver, acting promptly is advisable to gather evidence and expedite the resolution.
  7. For claims with MVAIC, the deadline is 90 days.
  8. Filing a supplemental uninsured motorist (SUM) or underinsured motorist (UM) claim should be made as soon as possible to seek additional compensation when the at-fault party is insufficiently insured.
  9. While there is typically a three-year window to file a lawsuit, it’s crucial to be aware that some circumstances may lead to shorter deadlines.

Understanding and adhering to these deadlines is essential for you in New York, ensuring it meets legal requirements and facilitating a timely and effective resolution of your insurance claims.

How Do You File a Car Insurance Claim Online?

Filing a car insurance claim online is convenient and accessible 24/7 through many insurance companies. To proceed, gather the following information:

  • Policy number
  • Other driver’s details (name, license plate, insurance info)
  • Accident location and time
  • Police involvement details
  • Information on injuries
  • Towing location, if applicable

Accessing your police report can also yield valuable information such as case numbers and officer names.

Common Reasons for Auto Insurance Claim Denials

Auto insurance claims may be denied for various reasons. Some common factors leading to claim denials include:

Failure to Report Promptly

Insurance claims may be denied if not reported promptly. Delays in notifying the insurance company about an incident can lead to skepticism about the claim’s validity.

Delaying Medical Care

If there is a delay in seeking necessary medical care after an auto accident, it can be a reason for claim denial. Insurance companies often expect prompt medical attention to ensure the connection between the accident and injuries is clear. Delayed medical care may raise doubts about the severity or cause of injuries.

Insufficient Coverage

The claim may be denied if the policy lacks coverage for a specific type of damage or incident. It’s crucial to ensure your policy adequately covers potential risks to avoid complications during a claim.

Negligence or Intentional Acts

Claims stemming from intentional acts or negligence, such as drunk driving or deliberate damage to the vehicle, are likely to be denied. Insurance typically covers accidents, not intentional or reckless actions.

Policy Exclusions and Violations

Claims can be denied if they fall under specific policy exclusions or if the policyholder violates the terms and conditions outlined in the insurance agreement. Understanding the policy details is crucial to avoid claim denials based on policy violations or exclusions.

What Steps Should You Take if Your Auto Insurance Claim Is Denied?

If your claim is denied, it can be frustrating. However, there are steps you can take to address the denial. First, carefully review the denial letter provided by the insurance provider.

Understand the reasons for the denial and check your policy to ensure the denial is valid. If you believe the denial is unjustified, gather supporting documentation and any additional information that might strengthen your case. Furthermore, contact your insurance company to discuss the denial and provide the additional evidence you’ve gathered.

If the issue persists, consider filing an appeal with the insurance company, detailing your arguments and presenting the supporting documents. 

If all else fails, you can consult a lawyer who specializes in insurance matters to explore your legal options. It’s essential to act promptly and thoroughly document your efforts throughout the process to increase the likelihood of a favorable resolution.

Contact Uptown Injury to File a Car Accident Insurance Claim!

Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, is here to support you if you or a loved one has been in a car accident and need legal assistance. Our team of dedicated car accident lawyers is committed to advocating for your rights, and we offer expert guidance throughout the legal process.

With extensive experience handling car accident cases, our attorneys are well-prepared to pursue the compensation you deserve. You don’t have to face the legal complexities of post-accident challenges alone – we stand by your side.

Contact us or dial 917-540-8728 to arrange a FREE consultation.


What Information Should I Gather at the Accident Scene?

Start by obtaining contact and insurance details from the other driver. Subsequently, take detailed photos of the damage sustained by both vehicles. Furthermore, make sure to note the accident’s precise location and the exact time it occurred.

How Does a Total Loss Claim Work?

A total loss happens when fixing your car costs more than it’s worth. To reach this point, your car usually needs a lot of damage, especially if it’s newer or worth a lot of money. In the case of a total loss, your insurance company will keep your damaged vehicle and provide you with a payout equivalent to your car’s value.

When Can I File a Diminished Value Claim?

Your vehicle’s value can decrease after an accident, even after repairs. Therefore, your car’s current accident history can adversely affect its resale value, leading to a lesser return on investment when selling it in the future. You can opt for a diminished value claim per your state of residence and policy type. In such cases, you would receive compensation equivalent to the diminished value.

How Do I Contact My Insurance Company to File a Claim?

You can reach your insurance company’s claims department using the contact information in your policy documents or their website. Thus, you can also seek assistance from your attorney to help you talk to your insurance agent and file a claim on your behalf.

Is There Any Deadline for Filing an Insurance Claim in New York?

Yes, in New York, various deadlines exist for filing insurance claims. These include a 10-day deadline for filing an accident report, a 30-day deadline for a no-fault claim, and a 90-day deadline for filing claims with MVAIC (Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation). Understanding and adhering to these deadlines is crucial for a smooth claims process in the state.

What if I Don’t Have All the Necessary Information When Filing a Claim?

Don’t worry too much if you don’t have all the information you need for your claim. Just provide those details you have, like the date and place of the accident, the names of people involved, and any information from the police report if you have it. Your insurance company can help you fill in the gaps later on.

Do I Need to Involve a Lawyer After a Car Accident?

Yes, consulting a car accident lawyer is a good idea, especially if you’re having disagreements with insurance companies. Getting a lawyer can help you easily handle legal processes and ensure you get the highest compensation.

Do You Need to File an Uninsured Motorist Claim in New York?

You might be in an unfortunate accident with an uninsured driver. The damages covered depend on your state’s regulations. In a no-fault state like New York, your insurance provider will cover your damages, even if you’re at fault, and hold only liability insurance. However, you’ll need uninsured motorist coverage in states without a no-fault system.

Is There Any Difference Between Comprehensive and Collision Coverage?

Yes, both of them differ in what they cover. Comprehensive covers non-collision-related damages like theft or weather damage, while collision coverage handles damages from accidents with other vehicles.

What Should I Do if I’m in an Accident With an Uninsured Driver in New York?

If you find yourself in this situation, having uninsured motorist coverage in your policy can be helpful. This type of insurance protects you and covers your costs if the other driver doesn’t have enough or any insurance. Additionally, it’s advisable to reach out to a skilled car accident lawyer to handle matters involving uninsured drivers.

How Can I Ensure I Get Fair Compensation for a Total Loss Claim?

To make sure you receive fair compensation for a total loss, it’s important to thoroughly document your vehicle’s condition and understand how your insurer determines its value. Additionally, in more complex cases, a car accident attorney can provide valuable support in helping you secure the compensation you deserve.


Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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