Disaster strikes. You suddenly find yourself involved in a car collision. It all happened in a matter of seconds, but you are still recovering from the shock of the incident.
It’s not something anyone wants to experience, but there are certain steps that need to be followed to ensure that you receive the coverage you are entitled to.
It is important to document as much evidence as possible at the scene of the accident. Take note of your surroundings and whether there are any witnesses present. This information, along with any other details such as a filed police report and insurance information of all involved drivers must be relayed to your insurance company. It is also necessary to proceed with filing the claim as soon as you possibly can as there are deadlines in place by which time you must file a claim, and so putting off this first step should be avoided.
You will get a follow up call from a claims adjuster soon after having filed the claim. This can vary from a few days to a week depending on the provider. The adjuster will give you a step by step breakdown of the claims process and what you are covered for.
At this point you will usually be asked to take your car to an authorized repairs center approved by your insurance company. Depending on the policy, there may be a deductible applied at this step as well. By law, your insurance company must give you notice of intent to repair damages to your vehicle no more than seven days following the receipt of your claim. Additionally, If you were injured in the accident, the insurer must also provide you with an Accident Benefits application. You must then fill out and return the application to the insurance company no more than 30 days after receiving it.
Based on the information provided to them, your insurance company will decide on who is at fault for the collision. In Ontario, there are different rules in place for insurers to determine fault, regardless of whether either party involved in the accident is charged with an offense.
In the event that you disagree with the insurance company’s final assessment, you can request to obtain the rule(s) applied to your claim to come up with the given decision. If you are not satisfied with the explanation given, you may escalate the matter through the insurer’s complaint resolution process, which may vary slightly from company to company.
If the damages to your vehicle are deemed repairable, then the insurance provider will pay for the repairs, minus the deductible on your policy if applicable. In the event of more serious damage, the insurer may decide to write off the vehicle instead and pay you the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of the vehicle, minus the deductible on your policy if applicable.
The insurance company has sixty days to pay out the claim if they don’t give notice to repair the vehicle. If as a result of a dispute, an appraisal is requested, then the insurer has a period of fifteen days to pay out after receiving the appraisal. Incidents with personal injuries, the amount you receive is dependent on the extent of your coverage. This is where optional coverage comes in handy if you paid the extra premium.