Meet Kelley Reno Culley an Independent Insurance Agent, Certified Insurance Counselor CIC, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter CPCU, and all around insurance nerd here to assist you!
The 3 P's of Insurance Claims
In my line of work, it’s not unusual to get frenzied calls from clients who have been in a car accident.
Recently, I took one of those routine calls from someone who had never been in an accident before. In this case it wasn’t her fault, but it was stressful for her. She was attempting to leave a gas station and a woman in front of her backed into her car. No one was injured, but both vehicles were damaged. The woman claimed responsibility, they swapped info and then went their separate ways.
I asked her a few questions: Did you file a police report? Did you get the names and numbers of other people who saw this happen? Did you take photos at the scene? No to all of these. Ok, I told her to start by calling the other person’s insurance company and reporting the claim. However, I prepared her for the harsh reality that people are not honest. She called me back a day later and, unfortunately, told me I was right. The other driver told her insurance company a dramatically different version of the facts.
The moral of the story: there are people out there who are dishonest and unwilling to step up and admit fault when they mess up. So how do we deal with these people in everyday life? Short of installing a dashboard camera (I’ve seriously considered this option – it’s common in other countries, which is why YouTube has so many funny internet videos of bad drivers), I’d like to recommend a few quick tips. Knowing and remembering one or two could save you some stress, money, and frustration later on.
- File a POLICE report. People lie, but statically they are less likely to lie to a police officer. (that’s a statistic I made up, but I’ve found it to be true).
- Pull out your smart PHONE. Take pictures of your damage, the other vehicle’s damage, their license plate, where the accident happened… If you’re really on the ball, start rolling video on your phone the second you get out of the car.
- Do you see PEOPLE around you? Ask them for their name and number. I always stop after seeing an accident, but hey I do this for a living and know that witnesses are important.
We’re going to call this Kelley’s Three P’s of making the claims process less stressful. If you can remember POLICE, PHONE, and PEOPLE, you’ll be able to minimize the fallout from dishonest people. You can’t erase it completely, which is why you have a great independent agent to assist you, but if I can make your day a little easier, I’ll consider mine a success.