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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Car insurance claims can be time-consuming, and the inconvenience of having a vehicle inspected and repaired can have an impact on your day-to-day life until the claim is settled. Between the accident itself, the phone calls to the insurance company and the time spent having the vehicle inspected and repaired, you may lose a lot of time out of your day. Worse, you may need to take time off of work in order to handle the claim. In these situations, you may be wondering whether your insurance company can compensate you for the inconvenience of the claims process.
How Much Time Will I Miss While Handling a Claim?
The amount of time taken off of work to handle an insurance claim will vary from one situation to the next. Depending on your situation, you may not need to miss any time at all beyond the initial time lost from the accident itself. Insurance companies have 24-hour claims support numbers that you can call after work, and most companies provide convenient inspection opportunities that should mesh with your schedule.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Although you can speak with the claims department after hours, you may only be able to contact your adjuster during business hours, and the claim may be caught at a stand-still until you speak with the adjuster to provide a statement or other information. Similarly, it may be difficult to schedule an inspection for your vehicle at a convenient time. This is especially true if you work an odd work schedule or live in a rural area with limited inspection options.
In cases where your insurance company cannot work with your schedule, you may need to take time off of work or arrange to have someone else handle your claim for you. This is one reason why it’s important to always have at least one other person listed on your policy.
Will My Insurance Company Compensate Me for Lost Work?
If you lose work due to injuries received in an auto accident, the lost wages should be covered as part of the medical expenses. This payment will be included along with any other amount you might receive for pain and suffering. You will need to provide documentation of where you work, how much you make and how many days of work you missed as a result of the accident. You may also be asked for documentation about any other compensation for lost time, such as paid time off or short-term disability benefits.
These lost wages payments only apply to work missed due to injuries, however. Most insurance companies will not be able to pay for time missed from work for handling any other aspect of the claim. There are a few ways that you can reduce the impact that a claim may have on your time:
— Be honest about your situation with the claims department
If the person you’re speaking to understands what your schedule looks like, they may be more willing to work with you to find solutions that won’t use up so much of your time.
— See if anyone else can handle things
If another person in your family can take the vehicle to an inspection, drop it off at the body shop or pick up a rental car, put that individual in charge of the task so that you don’t need to miss work to do it.
— Utilize alternate forms of communication
Some insurance companies can handle inquiries through email or text message, which may cut down the amount of time you spend making phone calls.
— Schedule time to handle your business
Try to set aside a little bit of time to handle the insurance claim and do as much as possible all at once. For example, see if you can have the vehicle inspected on the same day as you’re filing the claim; you’ll already be in the right mindset and you can get the claim out of the way early.
Also be sure that you communicate with your employer to let them know what’s going on. If your boss knows that you’re rearranging your schedule to take care of an insurance claim rather than simply trying to get time off, they might be more likely to give you the time off that you need.
Although insurance claims are never fun, your insurance company is usually just as interested in getting it handled quickly and painlessly as you are. Be sure to work with your adjuster to provide the information that they need to do their job, and you will be rewarded with an expedited claim.