back to articles | March 27, 2023 | Joe Moore

Categories: Useful Automotive Information

How to File a Car Insurance Claim After a Vehicular Accident

Car insurance in the United States is a $147 billion industry. But you usually don’t give insurance much thought until it’s time to buy one, renew your policy, or file a claim.


Car insurance in the United States is a $147 billion industry. But you usually don’t give insurance much thought until it’s time to buy one, renew your policy, or file a claim.

In what ways can having car insurance benefit you? How do you file for an insurance claim if you recently got involved in a car accident?

This article discusses the advantages of having car insurance and provides the steps to file an insurance claim after you’ve figured in a vehicular accident.

Car insurance can help protect you from financial loss due to damage or theft of your car. But this insurance type can also help cover other costs like legal liabilities and medical expenses. Depending on your provider, car insurance can even cover facial surgery costs due to a car accident.

Claiming insurance can be a tedious process depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. Learning the steps to filing a car insurance claim and seeking the assistance of a lawyer well-versed in such claims can help you go through this process smoothly.

Read on to learn the benefits of car insurance and how you can file for a claim in case of a vehicular accident.

Steps to File an Insurance Claim Following a Car Accident

The process for filing a car insurance claim can vary depending on the accident and the insurance company. In many cases, you can file such a claim in two ways:

Filing an insurance claim against the other driver

In a car accident where another vehicle crashes into you, one of your options is to make a claim against the other driver through their liability insurance.

This claiming method is a third-party claim because you act as the third party to the other driver at fault and their insurance company.

Upon filing the claim, the other driver’s insurer will investigate whether their client was at fault. Depending on the accident’s circumstances, the investigation can take time, and you may need to wait a while before receiving your payment.

Using your insurance to cover the accident costs:

Sometimes, even if the other party is at fault, you may want to rely on your own auto insurance. These scenarios include the following:

Your state has no-fault insurance laws:

Some states require you to have PIP (personal injury protection) insurance, meaning you must make injury claims on your insurance first.

You can only sue the other driver in a no-fault state when you meet specific state-defined requirements. One example is the need for serious injury or death to occur before you can sue the other person.

The other driver is underinsured:

The driver who caused the accident might have insurance, but sometimes their coverage may not be enough to cover the damages or injuries they caused others.

If you’re the victim, you can still consider suing them for the remainder of the damage cost. But if their remaining assets are still insufficient, doing so may not be worth it.

If you have an underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, you can use this in this scenario to cover medical bills when the other driver has insufficient insurance.

Some states require auto insurance companies to offer UIM alongside uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.

UM insurance pays for medical expenses for car accident injuries caused by a driver who doesn’t have liability car insurance.

Use collision insurance:

Sometimes, you can choose not to deal with the other driver’s insurance company even if the other person caused the accident.

In this case, consider getting collision insurance that can reimburse you for damages sustained to your vehicle from a collision.

Note that collision insurance may not pay for damages due to vandalism or theft. This insurance also doesn’t cover damages that the other driver’s insurance policy paid if they caused the accident.

Your chance to get approved for a car insurance claim usually starts at the accident scene. Consider this checklist to get complete information about the accident:

  • Check for injuries and ensure that you and your passengers are safe.
  • Exchange information with the other driver.
  • Take photos of the damage, license plates, and other contributing factors like road conditions and road signs.
  • Ask for the responding police officer’s information.
  • Contact your car insurance company.

Ensure to file an insurance claim once you have gathered the necessary information. Insurance companies often deny claims when you don’t file on time. Most states give you two to three years to file a car insurance claim.

How a Car Insurance Can Benefit You

Auto insurance can cover you whether you’re driving your car or someone else’s with their permission. This coverage can also extend to your family members if you include them in your policy.

With auto insurance, you have coverage for the following:

  • Property damage: Includes vehicular damage and theft
  • Liability damage: Covers your legal responsibility to others for property damage or bodily injury
  • Medical expenses: Includes the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation, and, sometimes, funeral expenses and lost wages

Although U.S. states have varying laws regarding insurance, most states mandate basic personal auto insurance. Auto insurance coverages are individually priced to allow you to customize coverage amounts that suit your needs and budget.

If you have difficulties filing your insurance claim or are unsure about your state’s insurance-related laws, consult a lawyer to help you with the filing process.


  1. Collision Insurance
  2. What is auto insurance?