How to Get Your Car Replaced Fast After It's Damaged By a Natural Disaster

The steps you take after a natural disaster strikes and totals your car determine how soon the auto insurer settles your claim. In addition to following your insurer's procedure for making claims, other tips that can speed up the process. Here are four such tips.

Document Your Case

The first tip is to document your case so well that everybody can easily see what happened to your car. Your insurer is likely to be swamped with claim applications after a natural disaster. Between undocumented cases (that are difficult to prove) and well-documented ones, which ones do you think the company is likely to act on first?

Documenting your loss is as simple as taking pictures of the damaged car. Take several pictures from different angles as immediately after the damage occurs as possible. Include the engine, the trunk, and the interior of the car. Do this before cleaning up the car. Submit any recent pictures of the car before it was damaged for comparison purposes.

Don't Delay Your Claim

The next tip is to submit your claim as soon as possible. This is because your insurer will be acting on the claims as they receive them. Therefore, provided you have submitted all the necessary paperwork, the faster you submit your claim, the faster it is likely to be acted upon.

Keep Records

Store all the documents and correspondence related to your claim; it's also advisable to document your interactions with the insurer. For example, if you receive a call from the insurer, get the name of the person talking to you and note the time of the call. Insurance adjusters and other staff of the insurance company are human; it is not unheard of for a paper or two to go missing. If that happens, you need to have a copy (or the original document) of the missing document so that your claim processing isn't halted.

Be Proactive

Badgering the adjuster with questions and complaints isn't helpful, but you also shouldn't be too laid back if you want your claim to be settled fast. This advice is especially useful if there is a problem with the claim process, such as if the adjuster's offer is too low and the negotiations have hit a snag. Don't "wait" for the adjuster to change their mind; talk to their supervisor or the claim's manager to help you unlock the deadlock.

Shop wisely after the receiving your settlement check. Local dealers hike prices if they expect a surge of customers. You can even delay your car purchase a bit if you don't have a pressing need for a car.