How to File a Vehicle Claim
I’m not going to sugar-coat it; claims are challenging and stressful. However, knowing how to file a claim can make it easier on yourself, help you achieve better results, and give you a little more Peace of Mind in the process. I’m going to go through some steps outlined here not only by SGI but also include some of our actions that, as your broker, we think you should know.
Take a Minute
After you’ve been in an accident, take a minute to look at the damage to your vehicle. Take pictures of the damage to your car so you have a record of it. Based on that damage, determine if your car, truck, SUV, etc., is still drivable. If you’re not sure, don’t risk it.
Find Your Insurance
You want to check if you have an auto insurance policy. An auto insurance policy is extra insurance you purchased on top of your regular vehicle insurance. I’m not talking about your registration here. If you’re unsure if you bought an auto policy / autopak, you can log into your mySGI online account and check if you have any policies listed. Another option is to your call your brokerage and ask an advisor.
What you first need is your policy number. You’ll need to enter this a few times for SGI and later the repair shop, so make sure you have a copy with you or write it down. Better yet, print it off or have it emailed to you so you have a record you can easily access. From there, maybe do a glance-through. Check your collision deductible, comprehensive deductible, glass, loss of use, or liability. Depending on what type of claim it is, it’s a good idea to know your coverage ahead of time before you start the process.
Automobile claims, including package policies and basic coverage purchased with your registration, should be reported directly to SGI. If you have to make a claim, they’re a phone call or a click away 24/7. SGI Auto eClaim service is fast, easy, and mobile-friendly. Uncertain if you should report your claim? Contact your nearest SGI auto claims centre or call 1.844.855.2744.
Once you are assigned your adjuster, they will ask you questions regarding the accident. A tip for accidents involving another party is to draw a diagram while the accident is fresh in your mind. Outline the area where the accident occurred and mark the impact points on your vehicle and the other object/vehicle on the image.
Regardless if you call or file an e-claim online, you will need to answer the following questions: how your car got damaged, the date of loss, your policy number, plate number, and if another driver was involved. If they do not ask you if your vehicle is drivable, make sure you tell them if it is not.
If you can, go ahead and book your appointment to get your vehicle inspected. Depending on the nature of your claims, such as a windstorm or hail, I highly suggest you get a vehicle inspection sooner rather than later.
If Auto Policy is not SGI Canada
Now, if your insurance policy is with another company other than SGI, they need to be notified. Typically, this happens at the stage when you contact your broker, so you may have already done this when you called and asked if they had an auto policy for you. However, if you have not done this step, you must contact your brokerage to inform them that you have a claim and advise them of your claim number. Your brokerage will report it to your insurance company and open a claim file. By alerting them early, they are ready and expecting your insurance report and any receipts for the damages. If you miss this step, this can cause delays further down the road. Once you notify your insurance company that you’ve had a claim and your vehicle inspected by SGI, they will let you know if you can repair the damage or if it’s a total loss.
Throughout this process, you’ll probably ask yourself, “When can I cancel my registration?” Don’t jump the gun. We recommend keeping your vehicle registered during the claim process. Whether the automobile is a total loss or repairable, you can ask your adjuster when or if the registration can be cancelled.
And that’s an auto claim. It sounds easy, but it rarely is, and I won’t lie, it can be challenging. It can take time; patience is key to making your way through an auto claim with the least stress. Nothing happens immediately. Several moving parts work together at the end of the day to ensure that your vehicle is repaired or you are fairly compensated for your loss. Being patient and understanding that this can be a lengthy process will help you be better prepared in the long run.