After an accident, you may feel like a fish out of water not knowing what to do. Perhaps you’re a million-mile safe driver and this is the first time you’ve ever filed a claim. You may be thinking, “How do I get my truck’s insurance claim paid?”
At the Accident Scene
Call the police at the scene and have a report filed. Never let the other driver talk you into not making a report. Take photos of all of your damage, the other vehicle and the scene. Take photos of all tags, company signs and emblems, insurance card and driver’s license of the other party. Preserve dashcam footage. This evidence will help get the insurance claim paid.
Initial Decisions: Whose Going to Pay the Claim
Your first insurance question should be: Do I report the claim to my own insurance company? If the other driver was at fault, it doesn’t seem fair to have to file with your own insurance. Concerns your premium may go up or that your insurance carrier may drop you come to mind. Be sure to notify your motor carrier, in case they require an investigation, and ask for their advice.
Where possible, file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Do so right away while your memory and recall of the facts are fresh. It is their insured’s fault; they should bear the responsibility for paying the claim. Don’t rely on the other driver to file the claim. They may avoid the inevitable and cause a delay. Be proactive on your own behalf.
What to Include in Claim Against the At-Fault Driver
File a claim with the other insurance company for all allowable expenses, such as your repair costs, diminished value, personal injuries, out of pocket expenses, and downtime of your equipment. Keep receipts on all expenses incurred while you were down. For instance, if you were away from home and had to obtain a hotel room, you may be able to be reimbursed for it. Claims adjusters often disagree with the amount of lost income claimed due to the downtime. Show you mitigated your losses and worked to get back on the road as soon as you could. Show you rented a rig if possible. If unable to rent, prove why through documentation. As an independent driver, make sure that you keep good records of your income and expenses. These records will be necessary to determine your downtime reimbursement from the at fault carrier. Detailed documentation will get the insurance claim paid faster.
Even if the other driver gives you their insurance card, there is no guaranty that insurance is in force; it may have been cancelled for nonpayment, have very low limits of coverage, or not have the driver on the policy. In the event the other driver has no insurance, consider filing with your own insurance company. The longer you wait, the longer you’ll be out of work and losing income.
Before an Accident Occurs
Prior to an accident, review your own policy coverage with a qualified insurance agent. Do so every time you renew. It’s easy to fall into the trap of selecting insurance on line or speaking with an under-educated salesperson who can’t give you complete information. As a commercial driver, demand an agent who is experienced in representing professional drivers and can give you trusted advice on necessary insurance coverage. Sometimes, optional coverage may be added to meet the needs of your particular situation like downtime or uninsured motorist coverages. These additional types of insurance may get your insurance claim paid when the other driver doesn’t have any coverage or very small limits.
Finally, call our firm for any questions on filing a claim. We are happy to assist you in the process.