Automobile Insurance

Information on First-Party Claims

Auto accidents can be stressful. Filing a claim does not have to be. Here are some tips on what to do and what to expect.

These tips apply to claims you file with your insurance company, but can also help with claims you file against another person’s company.

Filing a Claim

  1. Get contact, vehicle, and insurance information for anyone involved in the accident or loss. If there are any witnesses, get their contact information.
  2. Take photos/videos of the loss, damage, or injury.
  3. Contact the police and file a report.
  4. Look at your proof of insurance to find your policy number and how to contact your insurance company.
  5. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
  6. If possible, take steps to prevent further damage to your car.
  7. You do not have to use a repair shop your insurance company recommends. You can use any repair shop you want.

During a Claim

  1. An insurer will conduct an investigation and may request more information from you. You are required to cooperate with your insurance company.
  2. There are several timelines your insurance company must meet when investigating and handling your claim. To learn more about claims handling deadlines, read our Auto Bill of Rights.
  3. You will work with a group of insurance professionals called adjusters. To learn more about adjusters, visit our Adjuster page.
  4. Your auto will be inspected. Make sure you get copies of any estimates.
  5. Keep all records about your claim, including repair estimates, emails, receipts, and medical bills.

Problems with Your Claim

If you and your insurance company do not agree on the amount of your claim, or what your policy covers, you can:

  • Contact your adjuster about the dispute. You can also contact your insurance company and ask to discuss your claim with a manager.
  • Contact an attorney to advise you of your legal rights. The State Bar of Texas can help you find an attorney.
  • Pay a qualified appraiser to examine the damage to your property.
  • File a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI).

More Terms to Know

Claim – a request made to an insurance company to pay for damage or injury.

Claims adjuster – reviews the loss to figure out what is covered under the policy, if liability exists, and how much is owed.

Coverage – the damage or injuries an insurance company agrees to pay for under the policy.

Deductible – the amount you owe in a loss before the company pays its part.

First-party claim – a claim filed by you against your own insurance policy.

Liability – when you are responsible for other people’s injuries or damage to their property.

Policy – a contract between you and the insurance company. The policy tells you what’s covered and what the insurance company is required to pay.

Policy period – the period of time your policy provides coverage.

Premium – the amount you pay an insurance company for your policy.

Third-party claim – a claim you file against another person’s insurance policy or a claim someone files against your policy.