The United Services Automobile Association, more commonly known as USAA, is a Texas-based financial services company that only allows current or former members of the Armed Services, and their family members, to join. Among the services USAA provides is automobile insurance. If you have USAA insurance, you are probably familiar with the company’s reputation for great customer service. While USAA’s reputation for great customer service may be well deserved, do not let this allow you to become complacent when dealing with USAA. USAA, like all other insurance companies, wants to save as much money as possible when paying out claims.
Opening a Claim with USAA
If you are involved in a Georgia car accident with another driver who has USAA car insurance, or if you yourself have USAA, then you will need to contact USAA to set up a claim. USAA’s claims phone number is 1-800-531-8722. If you are a USAA member, you can log in to your account at USAA.com to report your claim and track its status.
Once a claim has been opened a USAA adjuster will be assigned to investigate and handle your claim. The USAA adjuster will likely call you to get your version of events. It is generally not a good idea to give a recorded statement to another driver’s insurance company. But if USAA is your insurance company you will need to comply with any requests for information, including requests for statements. This is because your insurance policy with USAA, like all insurance policies, has a cooperation clause that says you must cooperate with the insurance company.
Property Damage vs. Bodily Injury Claims
Car accident claims generally involve two components: the property damage claim and the bodily injury claim. Some insurance companies assign separate adjusters to handle each claim, while others use the same adjuster to handle both the property damage and bodily injury claims. If you have USAA insurance and have medical payments coverage, USAA will likely assign a med pay adjuster to process your medical bills.
Property damage claims are normally handled before bodily injury claims. The reason for this is simple. Property damage claims are normally straightforward and definite. It is frequently clear shortly after the accident what the value of the claim is. On the other hand, the full value of a bodily injury claim may not be known for months or years as the injured party receives medical treatment for their injuries.
For your property damage claim, USAA may send a field adjuster to inspect your vehicle, or it may simply ask you to take it to a local body shop and get an estimate. If your vehicle is totaled, it will offer you the actual cash value of your vehicle. If your car is repairable, it will pay for your car repairs and for any diminished value damages. Regardless of whether your car is totaled or is being repaired, you should ask USAA to pay for your rental car while your car is unavailable.
Once your property damage claim is resolved, you can worry about recovering for your injuries. If you are submitting bills to USAA medical payments coverage, you should be aware that USAA can be difficult to deal with on these claims. In our experience, USAA scrutinizes medical bills for payment under med pay coverage probably more than any other insurance company. USAA frequently challenges the reasonableness of the charges and whether the medical treatment was a result of the accident. USAA also frequently requires excessive documentation and records in an effort to challenge the claims. USAA will likely use a physician or chiropractor to review your records and determine whether med pay provides coverage.
If you are dealing with USAA’s liability coverage for your bodily injury claim, then you should not go it alone. It is always a good idea to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side if you are injured. If you are handling the claim yourself, then you should make sure you are fully aware of all the damages you are entitled to claim and what a fair amount for each category of damages. A frequent source of disagreement when USAA handles a bodily injury claim is the value of a lost wage claim and pain and suffering damages.
If you try to settle the claim yourself and you reach a settlement, then USAA will ask that you sign a release. This is just one of the many reasons you need a personal injury attorney on your side. The language included in the release can harm your ability to recover further damages, especially if you need to make an uninsured motorist claim.
If you are a USAA insured and are dealing with USAA’s uninsured motorist coverage, then the same advice applies: Get an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you.
If you were involved in a Georgia car accident and USAA is involved, contact the experienced Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Brogdon Champion, LLC for a free consultation. We can help ensure that you are getting full and fair compensation for your case.