"Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it." That's a piece of wisdom that applies to many things in life, most of all when it comes to auto insurance. See, most of us take our car insurance for granted. That is, of course, until we experience a car accident and need to make a car insurance claim to fund the repairs necessary to bring our cars back up to its former glory.
While all car owners have auto insurance, not everyone knows how to file an insurance claim. If you’re a careful driver with unusual streaks of luck coming your way, you may never find yourself in a situation where you will need to file such a request. Whether or not you’ll use this information one day, this article will help you understand how people generally file car insurance claims in Australia.
How do you file an insurance claim in Australia?
The first thing that you need to be aware of is that the process for filing insurance claims might be different depending on the insurance provider you’re using. Some may allow you to do the entire process online or over the phone, while others may continue to rely on paper forms.
Get in touch with your insurance provider
Let’s suppose you get into a collision with another car on the road, the first thing to do is inform your insurance company. Typically, insurance companies have emergency hotlines for accidents and roadside assistance. Depending on how damaged your vehicle might be, the insurance company may despatch a tow truck of their own to come and take your car away to one of their panel workshops.
Again, some parts of this process will differ according to the insurance company’s standard procedures. That’s why it is crucial to contact the company immediately after an accident so that the operator can advise you on what to do next.
Of course, while you’re at the scene of the accident, you should also exchange details with the other vehicle involved. These days, insurance companies also have mobile apps that you can keep on your phone. These apps will provide you with guidance on what to do during an accident, and might even allow you to snap photos to submit straight to the insurance company.
Getting your car fixed
Before getting your car fixed, you must get a quotation for how much the entire job will cost. If at all possible, it would be an excellent idea to try and get quotes from more than one-panel beater or smash repairer to make sure that you're getting a fair price. Even though your insurance company will likely pay for it, higher repair costs may affect the amount you spend on premiums in the future.
As part of the process, you’ll have to file a claim with your insurance company. Just as this article mentioned before, your insurance provider might allow you to do so online, on the phone, or by filling out a paper claims form. If you’re feeling unsure, it may be best to communicate with the insurance company directly so that they can provide you with better guidance quickly.
Quite often, insurance companies will have panel workshops where you can send your car for assessments and repairs. Since they’re on the insurance company’s panel, these workshops already have a relationship with your insurance company. They should be able to deal with them more efficiently and make the claims process and even the repairs much smoother.
How long does it take for an insurance company to pay out a claim Australia?
From the point that you submit a claim, the insurance company must get back to you within ten days. Throughout the process, the insurance company may do a little bit of investigating on their own. So, there’s a chance they’ll call anyone else involved like drivers and witnesses to confirm details about the claim.
If, in the end, they decide to reject your claim, they are required to explain their reasons to you in writing.
How do you prepare yourself for an automobile accident?
Most people only start searching for their insurance information when an accident takes place. To avoid the confusion and frustration from doing that, you can prepare ahead of time, so you know what to do during an automobile accident.
Here are a few key things you could do:
1. Download the insurance company’s app
These days, insurance companies have useful apps designed specifically for this purpose. Some may even help communicate the location of the accident to your insurance company, despatch a tow truck directly to you, and show you the nearest repair workshops. So, keep the app on your phone and make sure it’s all set up.
2. Ready the insurance company’s number
Whether on your phone or in writing, you should have the insurance company’s emergency hotline number ready for any accidents. That way, you’ll know the exact number to call right after an accident.
3. Keep proof of car insurance in the car
It’s always a good idea to keep proof of car insurance in your glove compartment box or anywhere else in the vehicle. That document will come handy because it has all of the essential details like the name of your insurance company and the policy number you have with them.
Here’s the thing about car insurance (or any insurance, for that matter). Some people might say that insurance is a waste of money, but it’s not. What you’re paying for is a financial form of protection. So, if you do get into a car accident, you have to ensure that you’re getting the protection that you’ve paid the insurance company to give you.
The best way to do that is to read the fine print in the car insurance policy before and after you've signed it. That way, you'll know what you're entitled to if you ever figure in a car accident.
By Ray Hasbollah