How To File an Insurance Claim
A step-by-step process to make filing a claim simple.
You’ve put in the work to find the right home and auto insurance policies, taking into consideration the extra riders and coverage necessary to ensure your property is protected. But there’s been an accident, and now that policy is doing exactly what it was intended to do, which is protect your assets. The question now is, how do you file an auto or property claim to ensure your policy will cover repairs?
An insurance claim is a request you make to your provider to pay for damages covered by your insurance policy. That can include repairs to your vehicle, replacing damaged property or providing reimbursement for medical bills. Follow these four steps for filing a claim.
1. Contact your insurance agency.
Contact your insurance provider to learn about what’s covered, claim deadlines, necessary forms and repair cost estimates. A claim representative will walk you through the process and help you with any questions.
- TIP: You can also call AAA to assist you after an accident for car rentals, towing and more.
2. Gather documents and supporting materials.
Take pictures of the damage, write down what happened and exchange information if another party was involved. Also, be sure to keep all of your bills and receipts from expenses related to the incident (medical, repairs, rentals, etc.).
3. File the claim.
You can file an auto or home insurance claim with AAA online, by phone or through the regular mail. AAA will assign a claim representative to review your case and help you with next steps.
- Tip: Read more about deductibles, do’s and don’ts, and more related to your homeowners claim or auto claim.
4. Prevent further damage.
Once you’ve filed the claim, protect your vehicle or home from additional damage. For example, cover broken windows to keep rain out, or remove tree limbs to avoid more property damage.
Be prepared to receive a visit from a claim adjuster if there was damage to your home or property. To help them, and to make sure you aren’t missing anything, make a list of everything that was damaged, destroyed or stolen.
Frequently asked questions
AAA has made filing an insurance claim as easy as possible, but you still may have questions. Below are answers to some of the questions our agents are most often asked.
How do I know when to file a claim?
There are many common events you might want to file a claim for, particularly if there was extensive damage to your property.
How does filing a claim affect my rate?
Your insurance policy is reviewed during your renewal period, and any claims from that year may impact your rate. Different types of claims can impact your rates in various ways. For example, your rate may increase if you were the at-fault driver in an auto crash. For home insurance, you can likely expect an increase if you’ve filed multiple claims within a few years.
How long will it take to settle my auto claim?
Auto insurance claims are typically settled within 30 days, depending on the type of claim and other factors. However, if your claim involves medical coverage, you can expect an extended time frame due to medical insurance and health care billing.
How long will it take to settle my home claim?
Home insurance claims can take months to settle, depending on the state. (You can look up your state’s laws to see the average time frame.) To help speed things along, keep a home inventory with accurate information.
Do I need an estimate for the repairs?
Yes, you’ll most likely need to get two or three repair estimates. To speed up the process for car insurance repair and receive a faster cost estimate, you can submit photos of the vehicle damage to AAA with AAA Accelerate in the AAA Mobile app.
Tips to Help Avoid Insurance Fraud
Insurance fraud is a serious matter, and you can take steps to avoid becoming a victim.
2. Use a trusted repair shop, such as a local AAA Approved Auto Repair facility.
3. Work with established and vetted companies. If you need a trusted referral, call your AAA insurance provider.
4. If you think you’ve been a victim of insurance fraud, call 888-372-8383.