What Must I Do after a Loss?

  • Immediately report all losses directly to your insurance agent or company.
  • Immediately report a loss to the police if your vehicle is damaged by a hit-and-run driver, or if you suspect vandalism or theft. Without a police report, your company could deny your claim.
  • Show the damaged vehicle to the company before having it repaired.
  • Protect your vehicle from further damage. If you don’t, your company could refuse to pay for any subsequent damage. For example, if you don’t cover a broken windshield and rain damages the upholstery, your company could refuse to pay for the damaged upholstery.
  • Cooperate with the insurance company’s investigation. If you don’t cooperate, your company could deny your claim.
  • Review the section of your insurance policy that describes your duties and other possible requirements (sometimes called “Conditions” or “Duties After A Loss”).

What Information Must I Give My Company?

  • A copy of any legal document you receive as a result of an accident.
  • A sworn proof of loss describing the date of loss, how it happened, for what purpose the vehicle was being used, etc. If you don’t submit a required proof of loss within the time period required in your policy, your company could deny your claim.
  • Your company may also ask for other documents related to the claim, such as medical and automobile repair bills, a copy of the police report, bill of sale for the vehicle, etc.
  • Documents for an examination under oath (e.g. tax documents, medical bills, etc.). If required, you must submit to an exam under oath. If you don’t, your company could deny your claim.

How Many Repair Estimates Must I Submit?

Your insurance company may ask for several estimates. There is no law that states how many estimates you must submit or that limits the number the company can ask for.

May I Choose My Own Repair Shop?

Yes. You are not required to use your company’s suggested repair shop. However, if your repair shop charges more than the company’s suggested shop, you may have to pay the difference.

Do I Have to Accept Replacement Crash Parts?

No. Although insurance companies aren’t required to use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) replacement parts, such as GM or Ford, you have the final choice of which parts will be used to fix your vehicle. However, if your company wants to use non-OEM parts, and you request more expensive OEM parts, you may have to pay the difference.

My Vehicle is a Total Loss. May I Keep It Anyway?

It depends on how old your vehicle is. To minimize “chop shop” crime, Illinois law lets you keep a totaled vehicle only if it is nine years old or older. In that case, your insurance company may, but is not required to let you keep your vehicle. If you have a newer vehicle, you must give the vehicle and clear title to your insurance company before they can settle your claim. Refer to our fact sheet Total Loss Auto Claims with Your Insurance Company (Rule 919 Exhibit A – Rights of Recourse) for more information.

Do I Have to Pay a Deductible?

If you chose a deductible when you bought your policy, your company will deduct that amount from the settlement each time you submit a claim. Keep in mind that insurance companies consider it to be insurance fraud if your repair shop offers to increase your repair estimate to help you recover the cost of your deductible.

May I Rent a Car?

It depends. If your vehicle is stolen, most insurance policies will reimburse you for the cost of a rental vehicle starting 48 hours after the theft, as long as you report the theft to the police and your insurance company. Check your policy for the dollar limits. For non-theft claims, most automobile policies don’t provide for a rental vehicle unless you bought additional Rental Car coverage for more premium.