If you’ve just been in a car accident, you might be shaken up—so shaken up that you may not know what to do next. You’ve done a little online research and come across the term “insurance claim,” but you’re not sure what it means. It’s all a bit overwhelming, and you need answers to your collision questions fast.
Don’t worry — we’re here to help.
Do I Need To File An Insurance Claim?
No, you can choose not to file an insurance claim. There are some cases where you might decide filing a claim is not worth the bother. Typical examples are when the cost of damage repair is only slightly more than your insurance deductible when your insurer provides a discount for a claim-free history, or filing a claim will increase your premiums.
Types Of Additional Coverage
Your Ontario Automobile Insurance Policy will include the following mandatory coverages:
- Accident benefits
- Direct compensation for property damage
- Uninsured automobile
You might also have additional coverage, such as:
- Increased amount of liability
- Comprehensive coverage for your vehicle and contents
If you’re not sure, read through your policy carefully to see whether these are listed.
Who Is At Fault For The Car Accident?
Your insurance company will work to determine fault based on the Fault Determination Rules of the Ontario Insurance Act. You can help them by photographing the accident site and any cars involved (if it is safe to do so). In addition, write down or record as many details as you are able.
Assignment of fault is not an “all or nothing” process. You may be determined to be 0% at fault (for example, you were rear-ended), 100%, or anywhere in between.
Sad but true — the number of auto accident scammers is on the rise in Ontario. They will often attempt two types of accident fraud:
1. Staged Accidents
Unfortunately, the collision you were involved in may have been designed to pave the way to false insurance claims for “personal injuries” or “vehicular damage.” Do not unwittingly assist fraudsters by admitting fault or discussing what happened.
2. Shady Referrals
A tow truck operator may mysteriously showup at the scene, trying to coerce or even bribe you into using the services of a particular auto repair person, attorney, or healthcare practitioner. Report this to your insurance claims adjuster, and be sure to use only established, trustworthy towing services.
Should I Call My Insurance Company?
First, all automobile collisions resulting in more than $2000 total damages must be reported to the police. We recommend filing a police report regarding every automobile accident; that way, you are protected in case the other party makes unwarranted claims.
Next, contact your insurance professional within 7 calendar days of the accident to report any injury to human beings or damage to property. This is essential no matter who was at fault.
If reporting your accident in the 7-day time frame is impossible, contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible, according to the time limit specified in your policy. Your claim may be rejected if you delay too long.
What Information Do I Need To Collect?
You’ll need to collect this information from the other driver(s):
- driver’s license numbers
- license plate numbers
- insurance details
- contact information
Try to look at their actual documentation instead of just taking their word for it. And, of course, you will have to provide your information to them, as well.
Do I Need To Fill Out A Proof Of Loss Form?
You need to fill out your insurance company’s proof of loss form as part of submitting a claim. Although the form varies according to the insurer, it always requests general information related to the accident itself and the value of damaged items, along the lines of:
- Nature of the damage
- Covered items that were affected
- Current replacement value of the item (in this case, your vehicle) and any contents, supported by receipts or other proof
- Evidence of the loss, meaning detailed description of all damaged items, with photographic backup if possible
What Happens After The Claim Is Filed?
After you have filed your claim, a claims adjuster will be assigned to your case for investigation and verification. The claims adjuster may:
- Ask for a copy of the police report
- Request your medical records related to the accident
- Speak to your health care providers to ascertain any medical expenses due to injury
- Interview witnesses to the accident
- Examine the accident site
- Photograph your car and verify the amount of damage
How Will The Payment Of Repair Work?
Your insurance company will pay for repair work to your car while the person at fault is determined. When the other driver is found to be at fault, your insurer will use a process known as subrogation to obtain reimbursement from his or her insurer.
If, for some reason, you cannot obtain payment from your insurer (at least not right away), relax. Financing on Bemac repairs is available through Desjardins Financial Services, which offers Bemac customers zero-interest financing for up to 12 months.
Who Should Repair My Car?
Avoid hassle. Have your car repaired only by a reputable auto body shop, a trusted partner with Canadian insurance companies, both private and commercial. Bemac is an established professional body shop serving the Ottawa-Gatineau area, with a carefully worked-out collision repair process.
As a member of the DRP (Direct Repair Program), we fulfill the strict requirements which Canadian car insurance companies demand. In addition to our expert collision repair, we will assist you in submitting your claim as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Read the 5-star Google Review that James F gave to our excellent post-accident customer service:
This is the second time I have used Bemac. The workmanship and service are top-notch. From helping me deal with the insurance company to booking the rental to having everything set up to be very convenient, they nailed it. Not what I would expect from a shop but definitely a pleasant surprise. Why can’t all businesses provide this level of service?!?!?
* Please note that this is a brief overview and should not be considered insurance advice. It’s important to speak to your insurance professional.