Car Insurance Claims Questions and Answers

close-up of insurance claim form with car key
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Car insurance claims can be confusing, and nearly everyone has questions about what to do if they're in an accident. Here we have listed some of the most common car insurance claim questions with quickie answers. Each answer includes a link to an article exploring that question in depth.

Key Takeaways

  • Common car insurance claims questions include whether to file a police report, what to do after a total loss accident, and what replacement parts are covered.
  • It’s often a good idea to file a police report, especially if you intend to file an insurance claim or if more than one driver is involved.
  • If your car is totaled—i.e., if the damages exceed a certain percentage of the value—you should contact your insurance agent and locate the title ASAP.
  • Most preferred insurance carriers will non-renew your policy for two at-fault accidents by the same driver in a three-year period.

Do I Have to File a Police Report After an Accident?

If you plan on filing a claim with your insurance, you will likely need to file a police report. If more than one driver is involved, it’s always a good idea, so you have proof of exactly what the accident entailed and the scope of any injuries.

Will My Car Be Totaled?

If the value of the repair to your car is higher than the value of the vehicle, it is certainly totaled. Many states have a specific formula for calculating this, while others go with a percentage threshold. In Alabama, for instance, a car will be considered totaled if the damage to the vehicle equals or exceeds 75% of its value.

What Do I Do After a Total Loss Accident?

Contacting your insurance agent and locating your title are just two of the steps you should take after being in a total loss accident. Find out what else you can do to speed up the claims process to get your money as fast as possible.

How Is a Single-Car Accident Handled?

Single-car accidents are almost always considered at-fault accidents. If you file a claim, you'll likely get hit with an at-fault accident surcharge on your car insurance renewal.

Do I Have to Pay for an At-Fault Claim Myself?

Paying for a claim out-of-pocket should be determined by weighing how much the damage costs, your deductible, and the at-fault accident surcharge amount. Compare these three numbers to determine if it is worthwhile for you to file a claim.

What If I Have Multiple Insurance Claims?

Multiple insurance claims are almost always bad news. Most preferred insurance carriers will non-renew your policy for two at-fault accidents by the same driver in a three-year period. Many also surcharge for comprehensive claims if three or more are filed in a three-year period. Insurance carriers differ on these guidelines.

What If Someone Borrows My Car and Gets In Accident?

The insurance policy that lists the vehicle will cover the vehicle damages. Liability coverage is extended, too, but if the limit is not high enough, the excess can fall on the driver’s car insurance policy. Surcharges for at-fault accidents are usually added to the vehicle owner's car insurance policy.

Do I Have to Pay For Repairs After an Insurance Claim?

If you have a loan on your vehicle or want to continue with full coverage on your car, then yes you do need to get the repairs completed. If you do not want to carry full coverage anymore and own the vehicle outright, then it is up to you whether to make the repairs or not.

What Replacement Parts Are Covered By Insurance?

It depends on your particular policy. If you purchased insurance that specifically covers OEM parts (parts that come directly from the manufacturer), your repair will be done using replacement OEM parts. Otherwise, you’ll likely get a repair using aftermarket parts, because they’re more affordable for insurers and often just as good as OEM parts. 

What Claims Are Covered By Comprehensive Coverage?

Comprehensive covers anything other than a collision and your liability for other cars involved in an accident. Fire, theft, certain weather damages, and vandalism are all considered comprehensive claims.


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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Anderson & Cummings. "Can a Missing Police Report Affect My Car Accident Claim?"

  2. Alabama State Legislature. "Code of Alabama Section 32-8-87(d)."

  3. West Virginia Office of the Insurance Commissioner. "Non-Renewal of Automobile Insurance."

  4. Insurance Information Institute. "What Is Auto Insurance?"

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