What to Expect After Filing a Car Insurance Claim?

California Cullen Insurance Agency logo

Most people aren’t familiar with the process because they’ve never been in an accident. It’s a good idea to understand how your claim progresses towards a settlement.

Car accidents can be stressful. Knowing what to expect can ease your mind and improve the chances of a quick and fair settlement.

The faster the insurance company settles the claim, the faster you can get back to your everyday life.

How Long Do Auto Insurers Have to Process Claims?

Insurers generally try to settle all auto insurance claims within 30 days. While it’s not a hard rule, your insurer will likely try to settle the claim as soon as possible.

The following factors may delay the processing of your claim:

● Nature and severity of the accident

● Your insurance company’s policies

● If the claim includes injuries

● Timeframes mandated by state law

What Happens After Filing a Car Insurance Claim?

A claims adjuster is assigned to review your claim and determine the accident’s cause. The adjuster recommends how much the insurance company should pay for the loss.

Your insurance company covers costs associated with injuries as well as any repairs until it determines fault. Once fault is assigned, your insurance company will negotiate to decide who pays.

The process of providing an initial payment is “indemnification,” which means coverage for damages and losses. If the other driver is at fault, your insurance company seeks payment from his insurance company through the process of “subrogation.”

How Does the Insurance Company Evaluate Car Damage?

An adjuster or appraiser adjuster inspects the damage to your vehicle, providing an initial estimate for the cost of repairs. The estimate includes both parts and labor costs.

Your insurance company may recommend certain repair shops but you have the right to choose where your car is repaired.

How Do Car Repairs Get Paid?

To pay for the repairs, your insurance company may send the check directly to the repair shop or to you. You are then responsible for paying the repair shop. The repair shop will not release your vehicle until it receives full payment.

If your car was totaled in an accident, the insurance company pays the actual cash value (minus your deductible). The actual cash value is the depreciated value of your vehicle. You can use this money towards buying a new car.


After an accident, you will want your car insurance claim processed as soon as possible so you can get back on the road. Make sure you know what to expect. Contact your insurance company to review your policy and the claims process.

Worried You Are Paying Too Much for Auto Insurance?

Read our guide on How To Get The Best Price On Car Insurance.

Choosing the Best Auto Insurance in California

Auto insurance is necessary for every driver in the country. The policy provides financial protection for your vehicle ...
read more
Insurance Agency California | Woman at Home Working on Her Laptop

Business Insurance and Self-Employment

Do Self-Employed Workers Need Business Insurance? If you’re self-employed you may not consider yourself a business owner but ...
read more
Insurance Agency California | Man Sitting at His Office Desk Holding a Book

When Do I Need Business Insurance?

Starting a business comes with plenty of risks. Some you may anticipate but others you may not expect ...
read more