A motor vehicle accident almost always calls for you to file an insurance claim. While this sounds as simple as calling your agent and letting them take over, it’s critical that you take the right steps to protect your legal rights along the way.

Filing a car insurance claim is often a complex process, as there are potential mistakes lurking around every corner. Here are some of the many mistakes to avoid:

  • Trusting your agent: This isn’t to say that your car insurance agent is a bad person or they are trying to pull one over on you. However, they will always do what is in the best interest of their business. You need to work with them throughout the process, all while keeping a close watch on every move they make.
  • Providing a written or recorded statement: Your agent (or the agent for the other driver) may push for you to make a statement, but you are not obligated by law to do so.
  • Neglecting to review your policy: Your car insurance policy outlines the terms and conditions of your coverage. This is a legally binding agreement between you and your insurance company, so you should expect to receive the compensation as outlined in the policy.
  • Accepting payment: Your insurance company may send you a check, which you’re tempted to cash if you need the money. However, before you do so, double check with your agent to understand what it’s for. For example, they may consider this your final payment, at which point you want to set it aside for the time being.
  • Waiting too long to file a claim: Your immediate attention always turns to your health, but you should attempt to file a claim as quickly as you can. If necessary, such as in the event of a serious injury, ask a family member to start the claims process on your behalf.

When you take these steps, you’ll feel better about your ability to file a car insurance claim and obtain all the compensation owed to you. As long as you understand your policy and legal rights, no one will take advantage of you.