If you own a car and have car insurance, there are going to be times when you need to contact the insurance company. This could be for a variety of reasons — maybe you got into a car accident or a tree fell on your vehicle and you need to file a claim; or maybe you simply need to add a new driver to your auto policy.
There are a lot of times when you’ll be legally required to contact your auto insurer, like if you get into a car accident (even when it isn’t your fault). Make sure you have contact information for your insurance agent and company claims department in the event you do get into an accident or need to update your policy.
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How to contact your car insurance company
Even if you never get into a car accident, there will still be instances when you need to contact your insurer. For example, if your 16-year-old gets their driver’s license, you will need to contact your insurer in order to add them to your auto policy. If they get a new car, then you will need to contact your insurer to add the new vehicle to your policy, too.
Some other common reasons you will need to contact your insurance company that do not have to do with filing an insurance claim are:
If you move out of state
Multi-policy questions, like bundling your home and auto insurance
How to contact your auto insurer over the phone
If you need to contact your insurer over the phone — be it to file a car insurance claim or to ask about a potential discount — you’ll want to have your auto insurance declarations page handy. On your declarations page you will find basic information that you may need to provide your insurer with, such as:
Your policy number
Your policy duration period
The names of drivers in your household
Most auto insurance companies will have multiple phone numbers for you to call depending on your specific situation. For example, there will likely be a “roadside assistance” phone number to call if you need assistance while on the road. There are also customer service lines and general lines to call to get an auto insurance quote or ask non-emergency questions.
If you get into a car accident after company business hours, you can still call your insurer. Most insurance agencies will have an emergency hotline or a representative on call who can log your claim. Your claims adjuster will call you back to follow up with more specific information and next steps.
How to contact your auto insurer online
More and more insurance companies are making it easier for customers to contact them online. Today, most insurers will either have a website or mobile app you can log into if you are an existing customer. Some insurance providers will have a live chat option so you can easily chat in real time with an insurance agent. Your insurer may let you file a car insurance claim online through its website or mobile app, making things easier if you need to file a claim or chat with an adjuster immediately.
You can also compare auto insurance quotes online. If you’re shopping around for an auto quote, you should have your driver’s license handy, as well as information about your vehicle (model, year, etc). You may also need additional information about your car, like safety features and its mileage.
How to file a claim with your car insurance company
You can file a claim with your insurance company online, through a mobile app, or over the phone. At the scene of the accident you should collect as much information as possible, including:
Policy numbers of everyone involved
Documentation of the accident or damage
License plate numbers
Name of witnesses and responding police officers
Police report (if you filed one)
Once you file your insurance claim your insurer will assign you a claims adjuster. Your claims adjuster will be your go-to person throughout the claim process. They will also determine how much money you are owed by your insurer or how much the other insurer owes.
Once the claims adjuster completes the investigation and it is approved, the insurance company will make a payment (after you pay your deductible). The insurer will either make a payment to the body shop or car repair shop (this is called a first-party claim), or the at-fault party’s insurance will make a payment directly to you (this is called a third-party claim). If you file a personal injury protection claim, you will be paid out once your health insurance coverage is exhausted.
How to cancel your car insurance policy
You can contact your auto insurance company any time to cancel your policy. You can easily call your insurance agent or depending on your insurer, cancel online.
Some tips things to look out for before canceling your auto insurance:
If you’re switching insurers, make sure you’re enrolled in your new policy before canceling your old one
Check with an insurance representative to see if you have to pay any cancellation fees or if a notice period is required before cancellation
Ask for a notice of your policy cancellation