Need to Report a Claim?

Experiencing an accident or loss can be stmvaressful.  One of the major advantages of being a BPA client is access to our claims expertise.  We can help guide you through the claim process from start to finish.  We have a former claims adjuster on staff who can advocate on your behalf with the insurance company.

Not sure if you should report a claim?  Call us!  We can discuss the scenario with you and determine if it would be to your benefit to report it to the company.  We can give you a good idea what to expect and what documentation might be required by the company.

Or give us a call:

(585) 381-1463

Claims – Frequently Asked Questions:

Will filing a claim increase my premium? (Or get me cancelled?)

It depends.  In NY, an accident is generally not considered “chargeable” (meaning the company can tack on a surcharge on to your policy at your next renewal) unless you’re at fault and the total damage (for all parties) exceeds a $2,000 threshold.

There are some exceptions:

  • Accidents involving bodily injury are considered chargeable.
  • If you have two or more accidents involving any amount of property damage in a 36 month span, a surcharge will be applied.

It’s also worth noting – even though an accident may not be chargeable you may still lose a “claims-free” discount if you had one.   If you’re not sure about reporting a claim – give one of our specialists a call.  We can walk you through the what-if’s and help you determine if it’s in your interest to file a claim.  Sometimes a surcharge spread out over time is still a better option than paying thousands in out-of-pocket repair costs.

What about my policy?  Will it be cancelled?

It’s hard to speak for every company since they all have their own unique guidelines.  As a general rule – a company does not want to cancel your policy.  They don’t want to lose you as a paying customer.  Claim frequency is probably the biggest factor they consider when offering a renewal.  Occasional claims happen – they understand that.  But when someone has frequent claims it may be a sign of a risk the company doesn’t want to insure.   How long you’ve been with the company and how many policies you have with them are also factored in.   If a claim involves a high-risk activity (racing, DWI, etc.) the chance of a company not-renewing the policy are much greater.

One of the advantages of being with an independent insurance agency like BPA – if your policy ever was cancelled we have the ability to move your business to one of the other companies we work with so you can maintain coverage.

Will I have to pay my deductible?

If you’re putting a claim in on your policy – yes.  Regardless of who is at fault for an accident, if you are using your policy – your deductible will apply.  A deductible is the portion of any claim which you agree to pay – regardless of fault.

If you are not at fault for an accident – you have the option to file a claim under the at-fault party’s insurance policy.  In this scenario – no deductible would apply since you are not using your policy.   The downside: you’re at the mercy of that person’s insurance to investigate the claim, determine that their driver was responsible, and issue a payment to you.  This can sometimes take longer if the facts are disputed, or if a company has trouble contacting their driver.

Why would I use my policy if I was not at fault?  It’s usually the fastest way to get your vehicle fixed.  Your company will take care of you first, and then go after the other insurance company on the back end.   If liability is not clear cut – the companies may end up arguing for some time over how much is owed by each party.  On the plus side – if you do pay your deductible and your company is able to successfully recover from the other party’s insurance – they will issue you a refund for the amount of your deductible.

Where can I have my vehicle repaired?

You are allowed to go anywhere you want for repairs to your vehicle.  Someone from the insurance company generally has to see the damages and write a repair estimate.  They may have an adjuster come out and write an estimate up, or they may direct you to a shop that writes estimates on their behalf.  Once the company (or their designated appraiser) has written the repair estimate you can take it anywhere for repairs.  The company will issue payment based on the estimate their representative wrote.

Most companies have shops that they can recommend to you that are part of their preferred network.  While you are not required to go to one of those shops there are benefits:

  • Repairs will be completed for the amount of the company’s estimate (no surprises)
  • Many companies guarantee any work done by their preferred network shops for as long as you own the car.  So if you encounter an issue down the road related to that repair work – the company will honor it as part of the original claim.

Using your own shop is fine – just make sure they can complete the work based on the pricing in the company’s estimate – otherwise you may be stuck paying the difference out of pocket.

I was just in an accident - what now?

  • If anyone involved is injured, call 911.
  • Get to safety if you’re able to.  The sidewalk, or the side of the road.  If the vehicles are driveable and are causing a traffic hazard – it’s ok to pull them to the side of the road.
  •  Turn off your engine and activate your hazard lights.
  • If there is over $1,000 in damage, or anyone is injured – call the police so they can assist.
  • Take pictures if you are able to do so from a position of safety.
  • If the police are called – they will speak to each party and provide you with a form which has the other person’s info.
  • If the police are not called – exchange information with the other driver.  Make sure to get their name, address, phone, driver’s license number, insurance company, and policy number.  Also note the year/make/model of their vehicle, along with the color and license plate number.
  • If there are any witnesses that saw the accident – ask if you can take down their contact info.
  • Avoid discussing fault with the other party at the scene.

How long will it take to handle my claim?

It varies – depending upon the type and severity of the claim.  Auto claims typically range from 3 or 4 days to several weeks in extreme cases.   Homeowner claims can vary based upon the type of damage and how quickly any required documentation is produced.

Our agency claim specialists can help keep your claim moving forward and assist you in putting together whatever documentation is required for your claim.

Do I have to file a claim with my company if I wasn’t at fault?

No.  You can opt to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance.  If there is no damage to your vehicle (or it’s so minor that you aren’t concerned with having it repaired) – a claim is not required.

Note: If the damages in the accident exceeded $1,000 – you ARE required to complete an MV-104 form and send it in to the NY DMV’s central office within 10 days of the accident.

Have a different Claim question?

Ask us here!  We’ll reply back with an answer and if it’s one we get frequently – we’ll add it to our FAQ listing here.

Our in-house claim specialists:

Brad Bicknell
Claim Specialist
Phone: 585.389.4162

Company Claim Departments:

204_adirondack_insuranceAdirondack Insurance Exchange
P.O. Box 50
Buffalo, NY 14240-0050

168_CincinnatilogoCincinnati Insurance Company
P.O. Box 145496
Cincinnati, OH 45250-5496

hartfordlogoThe Hartford
One Hartford Plaza
Hartford, CT 06155

232_logo-travelersTravelers Insurance Company
One Tower Square
Hartford, CT 06183

204_philadelphiaPhiladelphia Insurance Company
231 Saint Asaph’s Road, Suite 100
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

204_metlifeMetLife Auto & Home
P.O. Box 41753
Philadelphia, PA 19101-1753

Sterling-logoSterling Insurance Company
P.O. Box 9
Cobleskill, NY 12043

204_chubbChubb Group
15 Mountain View Road
Warren, NJ 07059

77_alleganylogoAllegany Co-op Insurance Company
9 North Branch Road
Cuba, NY 14727

114_drydenlogoDryden Mutual Insurance Company
P.O. Box 635
Dryden, NY 13053-0635

185_nycmlogoNew York Central Mutual
1899 Central Plaza East
Edmeston, NY 13335

233_msalogoMain Street America Group
55 West Street
Keene, NH 03431

213_progressiveProgressive Insurance Company
6300 Wilson Mills Road
Mayfield Village, OH 44143

foremostForemost Insurance Group
5600 Beech Tree Lane
Caledonia, MI 49316