Driving in the Maritimes during the long, cold, and icy winter months poses significant dangers and stress. Even a simple commute to work can turn into a hefty financial burden if the unthinkable happens.
When you need to file auto insurance claims during the dreaded winter months, you need an insurance company on your side that keeps your best interests in mind. Here’s how to get through the process.
As soon as the temperatures drop, your chances of getting into an accident significantly increase. According to surveys, two-thirds of Canadians say people drive terribly as soon as snow hits the ground and 73% cannot stand driving during the winter months.
When it came to winter driving hazards, Canadians said black ice and freezing rain create the worst conditions. It makes sense: it’s easy to see the snow and judge how to react but black ice and freezing rain create unpredictable conditions.
Sliding on black ice straight into a moose isn’t a situation anyone wants to be in. However, when the worst happens, our friendly team at Higgins Insurance is here to help.
Your Step-by-Step Guide to Filing Winter Auto Insurance Claims in the Maritimes
No one ever wants to file auto insurance claims but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Here’s how to get through the process with minimal stress – after an accident, you’ll be dealing with enough of that already.
1. Contact the Police to File a Report
After you make sure that no one is injured, call the police to file a report. You’ll need this report when you file the insurance claim.
Even if it looks like there is no damage to your car, problems might appear a few days later. Make sure to look for any leaking fluids or odd noises.
Talk to the police and the other driver (if the accident involved another vehicle) to explain what happened. The police should give you information for obtaining the official report which you’ll submit to your insurance company for filing any claims.
2. Contact the Local Ministry of Natural Resources (If Applicable)
If you’re cruising through the Maritime provinces and a deer jumps in front of you, this changes the game a little bit.
When an animal is involved in your accident, it’s important that you call the local Ministry of Natural Resources to file an additional report regarding an injured or deceased animal.
3. Get All of Your Necessary Information Together
Now you need to get everything in order before contacting your insurance company to file any auto insurance claims. This will ensure that your insurance company can quickly and smoothly process your claim and get you alternative transportation if your car is totaled.
Here’s a handy checklist of a few things you should gather:
- Your vehicle’s make and model
- Your license plate number
- Where the accident occurred
- Whether or not other vehicles were involved
- Your insurance policy number
- The badge number of the police officer who filed your report
- A copy of the report
- Whether or not you need a tow or rental car
4. Get in Touch with Your Insurance Company
After you have all of your information together, you’re ready to contact your insurance company. At Higgins Insurance, we have staff standing by 24/7 to take your call and process your claim as soon as possible.
Your insurance company will ask you questions about the accident and provide you with information about your deductible, coverage, and how everything applies to your specific situation. You can relax now: they’ll take it from here.
How the Higgins Insurance Apps Makes Filing Claims a Breeze
At Higgins Insurance, we do everything in our power to make your life as easy as possible. When the unthinkable happens, we know you’re already in a high-stress situation. That’s why we launched the Higgins Insurance app.
In certain accidents, emotions rise, and people tend to forget what to do firsthand. The app serves as your guide – giving you the steps you should do, the information to collect (including the most important witness information), and the pictures to take – right on the spot.
When tensions have calmed, you can call your insurance company and confidently start the claim with all the data you need ready to be sent.
You can also use the app to browse your coverage and policy information. This comes in handy when you don’t want to dig through your glovebox for paperwork following an accident.
Winter Driving Tips to Avoid Having to File Auto Insurance Claims
Sometimes we take every possible precaution and still find ourselves in a fender bender – it happens. You can, however, keep these winter driving tips in mind to stay safe in the Maritimes this winter:
- Install Winter Tires: This can make a huge difference when you’re driving in unsafe conditions like snow and freezing rain. You won’t regret this one.
- Get Your Car Ready: Take your car in for a tune-up and an overall checkup to make sure your brakes, exhaust, heating, and windshield wipers are all functioning optimally.
- Stay Alert: Always drive when you’re wide awake, keep an active eye on the road for any issues, and don’t ever use your phone on the road.
- Drive Sober: Always drive sober. If you’re not sober (even a buzz means you’re not completely sober), be sure to call someone for a safe ride.
- Be Prepared: Wear warm clothes that don’t restrict your range of motion and make sure your cell phone battery is full in case of an emergency. And, keep your gas tank full if you can.
- Pack an Emergency Kit: Kitty litter (for traction on ice), hand warmers, jumper cables, extra clothes, fluids (both for you and your vehicle), and road flares are all good choices.
- Drive Appropriately for the Conditions: Your big truck might be able to handle driving in two feet of snow but that compact car next to you won’t fare so well. Drive for the conditions, not what your vehicle can handle. And, be alert for the other cars on the road who might not be able to handle the conditions the way you can.
Higgins Insurance is Here to Make Stressful Winter Life a Little Easier
Higgins Insurance is one of the fastest growing independent insurance brokers in the Maritimes Provinces.
As a family-owned and operated company, we strive to treat each client like a member of our family too. And, when you contact Higgins Insurance for answers, you’ll speak directly to a member of our friendly, helpful staff.
If you have questions about auto insurance claims or coverage options, contact Higgins Insurance today to request a custom quote or ask about special group discounts.