Why Your Insurance Agent Does Not Handle Your Accident Claim

How should my insurance agent be involved in the claims handling process? I reported my automobile accident to him, but he doesn’t seem to be doing anything with the claim. Roy S., USA

If you are asking if your insurance agent is shirking his responsibilities, he is not. Your insurance agent is trained to sell, review and maintain insurance policies, and is compensated for the same. He is not trained or compensated for handling claims, nor is he really equipped to even if he has a background in claims handling. It is very unlikely that he even has the tools in his office, such as a computer system with claims handling capabilities.

In some cases, as with a case involving minor glass breakage only, your agent may be able to just give you a telephone number to call for repair or replacement. Or if your vehicle broke down and you have a claim for towing only, your agent may be able to process reimbursement. Neither of these seem to be your case.

If your insurance agent did not tell you to call the company claims office when you reported your accident to him, he reported it himself, whether that was by telephone, email or computer-generated report. Hopefully he did this very quickly so that your insurance company could begin handling your claim right away. The claims department would have the system and resources to handle your claim that your agent would not.

If you have questions or concerns throughout the claims handling process, those can be brought to the attention of your agent, who will then forward them to the claims office. Then he or the claims adjuster assigned to your case will get back with you, hopefully in a timely manner. It could save you time and worry if you just contacted the claims adjuster yourself. We are not telling you to cut the agent out of the whole process, just do not ask him to handle everything for you when he is not equipped to.

In the event that you find yourself sued because of an automobile accident, it is essential that you let your insurance company know this as quickly as possible. Your agent will not be able to do anything with the knowledge that you have been sued, other than notify the claims office. It is best that you report this to the claims office yourself. Doing so will save valuable time. Immediate action can be taken by the claims adjuster who knows exactly which processes to follow and who can hire an attorney to defend you, possibly even the same day. Imagine that you contacted the agent’s office with such important information and it became lost or non-prioritized because the agent was on vacation and someone who was not trained to recognize its importance just took a message. Meanwhile, the Court’s clock is ticking.

You might say or think “then what am I paying my agent for?” You are actually paying for the protection of a whole insurance company and its specialized departments. Use them.

This article is approved for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.

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