How does the claims settlement process work?
If you’ve been in a car accident, your stress level may skyrocket and you may not even remember what to do.
The most important step is of course to keep calm. If someone’s been injured, immediately call emergency services. If there are no injuries, then follow these steps. need to take.
Accident claims settlement is a four-step process, starting from the time of the accident to repairing or replacing your vehicle.
Step 1: At the time of the accident
Simple fender bender? Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to call the police. Simply fill out a Joint Report.
If you don’t have a Joint Report handy, exchange the following information with the other driver:
- Phone number
- Driver’s licence number
- Registration certificate number
- Insurer contact information
Hit and run
If you’re the victim of a hit and run, contact the police. If you can’t obtain a police report, report the accident directly to your insurer.
If you’re responsible for a fender bender with an unattended vehicle, you must contact the police. Not doing so could see you charged with leaving the scene of the accident, and could even cost you nine demerits points, not to mention a fine of up to $600.
Step 2: Making a claim
It’s important to contact your insurer or broker as soon as possible. A claims adjuster will be allocated to your file. He will investigate to establish:
- The validity and coverage included in your auto insurance policy
- Your liability in the accident
- What steps to take after that
Your insurer must compensate you within 60 days following receipt of your claims form, or information and supporting documents.
If your vehicle was stolen, the insurer will generally wait 30 days before compensating you, in case your vehicle is found within this time period.
Step 3: Damage appraisal
Damage appraisal is a key step which helps assess the cost of repairs and determine
whether your vehicle can be repaired or is declared a total loss.
- Can the vehicle be repaired?
Depending on the options you chose in your policy, either new or recycled parts will be used to repair your vehicle.
- Is the vehicle declared a total loss?
Depending on the policy coverage chosen, your insurer will replace your vehicle or compensate you based on the value of the vehicle (value at the date of the loss, or replacement cost).
About total loss
As a rule, the insurer will declare a vehicle a total loss when the cost of the repairs is higher than the value of the vehicle.
To establish this, the insurer factors in:
- Cost of the repairs
- Age of the vehicle
- General condition
- Market value
Step 4: Repairs
Your vehicle will be repaired once the damage has been appraised.
You can do business with the repair shop of your choice. Make sure, however, that the work is done as per the specifications agreed upon with your insurer. Your insurer can also refer you to a repair shop where you can have your vehicle repaired.
New or recycled parts?
Depending on the provisions of your insurance policy, repairs will be made using either new or recycled parts.
The standard auto insurance policy provides for damage to be repaired with recycled OEM parts made by the manufacturer. To have your vehicle repaired with new OEM parts, you must have purchased:
- "Replacement cost" endorsement Q.E.F. No. 43 – Change to indemnity – Option 43A
- Replacement insurance (Q.P.F. No 5).
Check out all the details about settling a claim on the Auto claims settlement page.