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In the event you are involved in an incident which results in damage to your car, another party's car, to a pedestrian, or some combination thereof, you will likely need to file a claim with your car insurance company. A claim is defined as a reimbursement or payment request you make to your provider for any damages directly resulting from an incident. In this section, we will discuss how you can best prepare to file a claim, respond to your claims officer or agent, and what you can expect of your future premiums as a result of filing a claim.

Please note: information about what to do during or immediately following an accident can be found in the car accidents & incidents section of this website. You should understand the nature of the accident or incident that occurred before you begin the claims process.

The Claims Process Explained

If you decide to file a claim after an incident, you should know what to expect from your claims agent and your future as a policyholder. What will you need to file a claim? Does your policy cover this kind of incident? What will happen to your rate afterward and is filing a claim even worth it? What about insurance fraud, either on your part or the part of the responsible party? We'll address all of these concerns here.

Preparing for Your Claim: What You'll Need

Once you've made it home safely and you've responded to the accident or incident to the best of your ability, it's time to contact your insurance provider. They may claim to be your ally during this process but remember, you're about to cost them some serious bucks. Prepare yourself for a cordial battle with a frenemy using this guide.

» new betsRead about What You'll Need to File a Claim

Rue Lies: Why Insurance Fraud Doesn't Pay

Maybe you hit your garage door this morning and the resulting dent just boils your blood every time you look at it. It might be tempting to say you incurred the damage at the grocery store just to get a free shot at a repair - but potential fraudsters beware, the cost of getting caught just might be greater than you think.

» What Happens if you get Busted for Insurance Fraud

Replacement & Repair: What Is, Isn't Covered on Your Vehicle

Some parts, components, or aftermarket accessories aren't covered by even the most premium of policies. From your souped-up stereo system to your standard rims, learn what your insurance policy might cover (and what coverage you should get if it doesn't.)

»View Vehicle Components Plus Replacement Coverage

Wrap Up: Completing Your Claim, Bracing for Raised Rates

The incident is over. The claims have been filed. Your agent has made an assessment and, hopefully, your vehicle has been repaired without event. What happens next? Will your insurance company drop your policy when it expires? If not, will your rates go up? Was filing a claim even worth it in the long-run?

»More about the Final Stages of the Claims Process