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Three Considerations Before Filing a Car Accident Claim

After you are in a car accident, the idea of dealing with an insurance adjuster and all the paperwork can be daunting. But in many cases, the process may go smoother than you think. This article describes the three things you should think about before you file your car accident claim so you will be prepared and be able to obtain a better case result.

First of all, here are some basic reasons why you should consider filing an auto accident claim:

  • Filing a claim can help to pay for your property damages and injuries, up to your policy limits.
  • It can help to pay for your legal costs if you end up being sued.

If you attempt to reach a financial agreement with the other driver without having insurance companies involved, there is a risk of a lawsuit later, if that driver finds damage to their car that was worse than they thought.

Further, if you do not file the accident report with your insurance company, the other driver could later make a claim for injuries or damages and then your insurer could deny you coverage.

Here are the three considerations before you file your claim:

When and How You Should File a Claim for Property Damage

Whether you should even file a claim after a car accident depends upon your insurance coverage and who was at fault for the accident. Below are some tips to give you guidance:

  • The accident was definitely the other driver’s fault: File your car accident claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
  • The accident was clearly your fault: File a claim with your own insurance company.
  • Fault is unclear: File a claim with your and the other driver’s policy.
  • Damage is not caused by a collision: If the car was stolen, vandalized or damaged by the weather, you should file under your own comprehensive coverage.
  • The other driver does not have insurance: Your policy will cover you under your uninsured or underinsured policy.

When and How You Should File If You Are Injured

If you were injured in the car accident, you will probably file a claim one way or another, but how this is done depends on several factors:

  • You have MedPay or PIP insurance: You should file your injury claim with your insurance provider under your MedPay or personal injury protection insurance, even if the other driver was at fault and even if you do have health insurance. Other policies could eventually pay at least part or all of your medical costs, but filing through PIP or MedPay ensures you do not get stuck with big medical bills as all that is sorted through.
  • The accident was the other driver’s fault: If the other car driver was at fault, or it is unclear who was at fault, you should file your claim with the other driver’s policy, using his or her liability policy.
  • The other car driver has no insurance: Your auto insurance company should give you coverage for your losses as long as you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.


When and How to File If There Is Minor Damage and No Injuries

If your car has minor damage and there are no injuries, here is what to do:

  • It was the fault of the other driver: When your losses are handled by the liability policy for the other driver, you will not have to pay any deductible. So, even if there is minor damage, you should file your car accident claim under the liability policy for the other driver.
  • It was your fault: If you are ok with minor car damage, you may not even want to file a claim. The small amount of reimbursement after the deductible you pay could be less than the future increases in your insurance premium.


It is generally a good idea to file a car accident claim except for the most minor of accidents. There is always a chance that the other driver could come back at you later and file a claim, even if they were the one at fault. Just take a look at the outlined scenarios above; these should give you a good idea of how and with whom to file your car accident claim. If you have any doubts or why you should consider filing an auto accident claim, talk to a car accident attorney in your area. The consultation is nearly always free of charge, and the information you obtain could be extremely valuable.

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Tags: accident, car, claim

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