Updated: October 2015
Accidents can happen, even to the safest drivers. Familiarizing yourself with the claims process early on can help should you be involved in a car accident.
Before doing anything else, check the accident scene and confirm that no one was injured. If there are injuries, dial 911 immediately.
Share info with the Other Driver
Start with your policy number and your insurance company's phone number—you'll find them on the proof-of-insurance card most states require you to carry in your vehicle. Then exchange names, addresses, and phone numbers with the other driver. Remember to take note of the other vehicle's make, model and license plate number, along with the number of passengers and an overview of the damage to each vehicle.
It can be helpful to take pictures with your phone and print out a handy claims worksheet to help you gather all the info you'll need and keep it in your glovebox for future use.
File a Report
Depending on where the accident occurs and the extent of the damage, you may be required to notify law enforcement and fill out an accident report. If you're not sure about the rules where you live, contact your insurance company.
Contact Your Insurer
Once you have all the accident info—and you've filed a police report, if required—contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report your accident and any damages. Your insurance company will tell you what documents and information you'll need to file a claim.
Every insurance company handles the claims process a little differently.
The following steps, though, will help you understand the ins and outs of the claims process and what you can expect from your insurance company, agent, and adjuster (the professional who investigates your claim and recommends a settlement amount).
Schedule an Inspection
You'll need to get the damaged vehicle inspected to determine the cost of repairs. This usually means visiting an auto body shop (your insurance company may recommend a specific shop or shops in your area) for an estimate of the repair costs, including both parts and labor. It's important to understand your repair options before making any decision about where and how to get your car repaired.
Speak With an Adjuster
Your insurance company's claims adjuster will objectively review all the available information—your vehicle's damage, accident/police reports, witness statements—to help determine fault and then provide a cost estimate.
Get Your Car Ship-Shape Again
As soon as the claim has been filed and coverage has been determined, your insurer can help get you on the path to getting your car repaired. Remember that rental coverage on your policy may pay for all or part of a rental car while your car is getting fixed, so be sure to check your coverage.
Depending on your coverage, damages (minus your deductible, of course) may be covered regardless of who's at fault. If the other driver's at fault, your insurance company may work to recover your deductible amount from the other driver. If you're at fault, your insurance company will handle any claims covered under your policy for damages to the other vehicle you are legally obligated to pay.
Get Up To Date Status on Your Claim
By registering with My Account you can also view your Claim Status. In Claim Status you can register for Direct Deposit, send a message and upload documents to your claim contact, view select claim documents, get payment information, and select an electronic communication preference.
For specific information on the Allstate claims process, visit the Allstate Auto Claims guide.
If you're already an Allstate customer, you can start your claim online, call us 24/7 at 1-800-ALLSTATE
(1-800-255-7828) or contact your local Allstate agent.