The insurance claim process can be a hassle, not to mention intimidating and frustrating, for Washington residents who have just experienced an accident or sustained property damage. Whether you are suffering from injuries or waiting on an insurance settlement to begin repairs on your house after a natural disaster, the steps to filing a claim and communicating with the parties involved are important.
As you may know, insurance companies exist to reimburse victims for their expenses relating to an injury, illness or disaster. However, insurance companies are also in the business to make money, and they will attempt to avoid responsibility whenever possible. In some cases, an insurer will fail to act in the best interests of the claimant, resulting in a bad faith action. FindLaw explains that by making your claim in a timely and accurate manner, as well as being organized and knowledgeable, you can reduce the chances of having a miscommunication or of an insurance company taking advantage of you.
After an accident or other incident that involves an insurer, you will need to take the following steps:
- Get the contact information of the parties involved, including the insurance company of the other people involved in an accident.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible; your insurer may have the experience and knowledge to negotiate with the other party’s insurance company, when applicable.
- Keep all receipts related to medical care or repairs relating to the incident.
- Take pictures of the damages and document all losses.
- Don’t agree to an insurance company’s offer too hastily; get professional opinions.
- Familiarize yourself with your policy’s terms, restrictions and filing deadlines.
There are many steps in filing an insurance claim, so it can help to be informed. This information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.