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How to File a Car Insurance Claim with USAA

by on September 17, 2015 » Add the first comment.

A car crash can really make you lose your cool. However, it is important to keep your head clear, and make smart decisions at the scene, as this can save you time, money, and hassle later on. You do not want to make a bad situation worse! Follow this step-by-step guide for filing a claim with USAA.

Immediately After the Accident

  • Check to make sure everyone is ok. If you suspect someone needs immediate medical attention, call 911 right away. Do not exit your vehicle until you know it is safe, and do not try to move any injured victims yourself.
  • As long as your car is drivable, move it to the side of the road to let other traffic pass.
  • Call the police as necessary. In the state of California, it is a requirement to call the police if the accident caused a death or injury. Either way, it may be helpful to have them on hand. If you call the police, do not leave without their contact info.
  • Get basic information from the other driver: name, contact information, driver’s license number, and insurance policy. It may be helpful to take pictures of his or her insurance card, if he or she will allow it. Do not leave the scene without this information!
  • Take photos of the scene and damage. Include any information you can: cross street, affected structures, and damage to your vehicle.
  • Be polite, but do not admit fault, even if you think it was yours.
  • Call USAA at 800-531-8722 if you have questions, or if you think you need immediate assistance.

Reporting Your Claim

You can file your claim online or with the USAA mobile app. Filing over the phone is always an option, but with the USAA mobile app, you can animate your accident, get photos uploaded directly to your policy, and schedule an appraisal. These all are transferred to your claims adjuster in real time, and they can cut your estimate time from days to hours. If someone has been seriously injured, your claim may take longer to investigate.

Once a claims adjuster is assigned to your case, he or she will review all the information you provide and go over the specifics of your policy with you. You should have the following information handy to submit your claim:

  • The date and approximate time of the accident
  • A description of what happened; stick to the facts, and do not embellish
  • The location of the accident (like cross streets)
  • Your driver’s license number
  • Your car registration
  • Your insurance card
  • Your policy number
  • The names, license plate numbers, and insurance information of the other drivers involved
  • Witness information (if applicable)
  • Police and accident report info, as well as the contact information for the officer at the scene (if applicable)

Case Resolution

Once an adjuster has made an estimate on the value of the repairs, he or she will resolve your case by offering you payment or reimbursement for car repairs or medical bills. Make sure you keep all of your receipts, but do not start any work until your insurance company has authorized it. If you have been injured, get itemized copies of all your hospital bills, including codes. The place where you were treated can provide these for you.

If you are having trouble getting an insurance company to pay for your claim, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to expedite the process. Sometimes even the act of hiring counsel can lead to a faster check for repairs. Insurance companies will also sometimes try to settle for less than what you are owed. If your insurance company is not paying for your medical bills or car repairs in full, and you believe it should be, contact us for a look at your legal options.

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