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Insurance Claim Do's and Don'ts

When you need to make an auto insurance claim, you should proceed with care. Your actions may have a significant influence on the amount of compensation you receive. Contact an attorney to learn more.

The Do's

  1. Notify your insurance company right away after you are in a car accident.
  2. Take notes when you speak with your insurance company. Make a record of the names, job titles and phone numbers of the representatives with whom you communicate. Note what you discussed and what you or the representative promised to do.
  3. Tell your insurance company the truth. Not only does this save everyone a lot of time and effort, but questions of legal liability can be complex. If you fail to be forthcoming with your insurance company, this could invalidate or reduce your coverage.
  4. Investigate whether you have additional insurance coverage. Depending on the circumstances, supplemental coverage may come from another auto insurance policy, a homeowner's policy or umbrella coverage.
  5. Keep and make copies of the receipts for money you've spent on car rental, medical bills and purchases made in connection with the motor vehicle accident.
  6. Be aware of the difference between the replacement value of your car and what you actually owe on the car. If the car is totaled, most car insurance will cover only the cash value of your car at the time of the accident. You may owe more than that, however, on the loan or the lease of the car. Gap coverage makes up for this difference. Additional coverage is usually necessary for things like a special sound system in your car.

The Don'ts

  1. DO NOT accept the insurance company's estimate of your losses and damages until you have a chance to fully explore the matter yourself. Make sure the check is for property damage only - not the full and final payment. An attorney's help is extremely valuable in determining whether the insurance company's estimate is fair.
  2. DO NOT give the other driver's insurance company a recorded or written statement until you have determined how you wish to proceed. It is important to be aware of the extent of your insurance coverage and your rights.
  3. NEVER sign a release or waiver until you have obtained reliable legal advice. You may feel pressure to sign from your insurance company, but it is your right to explore your options. Just make sure that you take appropriate action within the time limit stated in your insurance policy.
  4. DO NOT accept a check from your insurance company - especially one that says "final payment" - unless you have obtained legal advice and carefully weighed your options.

DO Consult an Attorney

  1. If you are injured. An attorney will provide you legal advice as to what your benefits are and how you should proceed.
  2. If you are having problems or need clarification after an accident.
  3. If at any point you are feeling pressured by the insurance company.

Your insurance company is legally obligated to follow through on the terms of its contract with you. You have the right to make sure that happens. Contact Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz for an attorney who will offer you support, guidance and advocacy. Call 763-560-0000, or toll free at 800-365-6666.

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