We have discussed ways to proactively reduce your chances of having claims in earlier blogs. We have went over the most common characteristics of companies with bad claim records and etc. It is always best to do whatever you can to prevent claims at your trucking company. However, no matter what we do, sometimes bad things happen. Today I am going to give you a few tips on how to handle the situation when a claim arises.
WHILE AT THE SCENE
- In any accident there is one thing that is more important than anything else. Injuries. The very first thing that needs to be done is to make sure that any injured parties are given medical attention as soon as possible. The chips can fall where they may. If someone is injured that is handled first and foremost. Call the police immediately upon having a traffic accident.
- Once injuries are tended to there are things that you and/or your driver should do while at the scene. Once police arrive and make the situation safe to do so you should take photos if possible. Taking photos of the scene and the surrounding areas can help paint a picture of what happened. Photos can also show the extent of damages for vehicles or property involved in the claim.
- The police on the scene will most likely have you and the other parties fill out an exchange of information form. This form is a very basic form that simply gathers the names, insurance companies, and phone numbers of the parties involved. A full police report can usually be obtained within 5-7 days by contacting the police department that was working the accident scene.
AFTER LEAVING THE SCENE
- Once the accident scene has been dealt with and injured parties and property have been tended to it is time to file a claim to your insurance company. The first call should be to your insurance agent. Your agent will be able to provide you guidance on what to do next. We are able to provide you with your policy number and the contact information for how to file a claim. In may cases we will file the claim for you once we gather the details. We can also tell you what to expect going forward.
- After the claim is filed it will be sent over to the claims department of your insurance provider. The insurance provider will assign an adjuster (Or sometimes multiple adjusters depending on the severity of a claim). Once an adjuster has been assigned to the claim they will usually call you within the first 24-48 hours after the claim is reported. They will want to speak to you as the owner as well as the driver that was involved in the accident. The adjuster will work out exactly what happened at the scene and ultimately decide what coverage applies to the claim and what payments should be made.
Claims can range from very simple to extremely complicated. The complexity of your claim will ultimately determine the amount of people involved in the claims handling process and the amount of time it will take to resolve the claim. The advice I give all my clients is the same. Be patient yet diligent. If an adjuster says they will call you in 48 hours give them 48 hours. At 49 hours you should be on the phone calling them. Making sure you are available and in contact with the claims handlers throughout the claims process will make things go smoother and faster. Claims are stressful and taxing but they sometimes happen. The best thing we can do is be as prepared as possible when they do.