How to File a Car Accident Claim With USAA
USAA, or the United Services Automobile Association, insures about 13 million people nationwide. If you get into a car accident in California, there is a good chance that you will file a car insurance claim with USAA, either as your own provider or the other driver’s. Unfortunately, like all insurance companies, USAA puts its own profits over the recovery of its clients. Follow these steps to correctly file a car accident claim with USAA and protect your rights.
You will need certain information to file a car insurance claim with USAA. The claims representative that you speak to will ask for general information about the car accident and the damage that it caused. It can help to collect as much information as you can about the crash before contacting USAA so that you are more prepared. This includes:
- The location and date of the car accident
- A description of what happened
- The policyholder’s last name
- The USAA policy number
- The make of the vehicle involved
- Your police report number
If you do not have all of this information, you can still file a claim. As you go through the claims process with USAA, you will also need proof of your losses. Do your best to gather photographs of your vehicle damage, a vehicle repair estimate from an auto shop and medical records documenting your injuries. The more information that you have, the easier the claims process.
File a Claim Right Away
Do not wait to file your USAA car insurance claim. Contact USAA as soon as possible to make sure that you file within the required time limit. This is within 72 hours of the car accident, for most car insurance companies. To file a claim with your own USAA policy, call (800) 531-8722 and give them your policy number, use the USAA website or download the USAA mobile app. If you are filing against a driver who has USAA, file your third-party claim online or call the same phone number listed above and give them the other driver’s policy number.
Know What Not to Say to a USAA Insurance Claims Adjuster
After you file your initial claim, you will be contacted by someone called an insurance claims adjuster. This is the person responsible for reviewing and assessing your claim. It is important to know that the claims adjuster’s goal is to save as much money on your payout as possible. Insurance claims adjusters have tricks to devalue claims. Protect your rights by knowing what not to say to the adjuster:
- Do not admit fault for the collision.
- Do not give your opinion about the cause of the car accident.
- Do not agree to give a recorded statement.
- Do not give the insurance company more information than it requests.
- Do not sign any documents sent to you by the insurance company.
- Do not accept the first settlement offered by USAA.
Be polite when speaking to the claims adjuster, but do not say anything that could incriminate you. Give honest answers to the adjuster’s questions while keeping your answers short and simple. Recognize that the adjuster works for the insurance company, not for you. Do not rush into a fast settlement that most likely undervalues your losses. Even if the adjuster says it is the best or final offer, take the time to speak to an attorney before settling. Like all insurance companies, USAA is not a non-profit and will try to reduce your payout as much as possible.
Consult With a Car Accident Lawyer
Before accepting a settlement, contact a car accident attorney in Los Angeles for advice. An attorney can determine the true value of your car insurance claim and help you negotiate for a fair and full settlement, whether you are filing a claim with your own USAA policy or another driver’s. Request a free consultation with the car accident lawyers at Rose, Klein & Maris LLP for more information about filing a USAA insurance claim.