A car accident will turn your life upside down and inside out. Even if you don’t suffer a serious injury, you’re still dealing with nagging health concerns, a damaged vehicle and an insurance claims process you don’t always understand.

It sounds simple enough to file a car insurance claim after an accident, but once you start the process, you’ll come to find that there are some challenges standing in your way. Primarily, there are those associated with getting what you’re owed based on the terms and conditions of your policy.

Here’s what you need to do when filing an insurance claim after an accident:

  • Don’t delay: As soon as you’re able, contact your agent via phone or online to start the claims process. You may not be able to do this right away if you’ve suffered a serious injury that lands you in the hospital.
  • Review your policy: Even if you have a basic understanding of your policy, you probably don’t remember all of its details. Review it from start to finish to ensure that you know what you’ve been paying for and what you should receive from your insurance company.
  • Take notes: Every conversation is an important conversation, so take notes outlining whom you spoke with, what you discussed and where things stand. Also, write down the person’s contact information.
  • Collect evidence: For example, if you have pictures from the accident scene, keep them in a safe place. The same holds true of pictures of your injuries and damage to your vehicle. Any evidence is good evidence.
  • Don’t say too much: It’s easy to put your trust in your insurance agent, especially if you have a longstanding relationship. But if you say too much, you could slip up and share something that your agent will use against you in the future. Stick to the facts and nothing but the facts.

Even though you expect the insurance claim process to go off without a hitch, you never know when things will take a turn for the worse.

Not only do you have a policy, which is a contract with your insurer, but you also have legal rights. Do whatever it takes to protect yourself every step of the way, as to ensure that your accident doesn’t hinder your ability to live your best life in the future.