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Car Insurance Claims

Making a car insurance claim doesn’t have to be nerve-racking. Understanding your coverage is the first key to a smooth car insurance claims process. There are two types of car insurance claims:

  • A first-party claim is one you make on your own policy. For example, if your car is stolen you’d make a claim on your comprehensive coverage. If you hit a tree, you’d make a claim on your collision coverage.
  • A third-party claim is one you make against someone else’s auto insurance policy. For example, if someone rear-ends your car you’d make a car insurance claim against their policy for the damage and any injuries you or your passengers suffer. (Except in no-fault states.)

If you make a car insurance claim against someone else and your damage is more than their liability limit, you can either sue them for the difference or go back to your own policy to make a claim on your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists (UM/UIM) coverage

Clearly, successful car insurance claims hinge on buying the right auto insurance in the first place. If you’ve decided not to purchase collision, comprehensive or UM/UIM coverage, or you’ve purchased only very low liability limits, you take the risk that you might have to shoulder significant expenses after a car accident. 

Car insurance claims against your own policy often lead to higher car insurance rates. Some auto insurance companies “forgive” your first at-fault accident under certain circumstances, or will generally not penalize you for a small fender-bender. But if you start racking up numerous or expensive car insurance claims, or auto insurance claims related to a DUI, expect your car insurance rates to go up. 

A history of car insurance claims will also haunt you if you want to switch auto insurance companies. You won’t find cheap car insurance quotes if you’re shopping for auto insurance with claims darkening your record. 

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