If you are part of a motor vehicle accident, it won’t be long before you’re on the phone with your insurance company. In addition to personal injury, it’s safe to assume that your vehicle was damaged in some way.

Making a car insurance claim sounds simple enough, but there is more to the process than meets the eye. If you assume that your agent will be on your side, doing whatever they can to help you out, you’re making a big mistake.

You need to be careful about every step you take, as one car insurance claim mistake can cost you a lot of time and money.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that people make after an accident:

  • Providing a written or recorded statement: Your car insurance company may ask for this, but it doesn’t mean you have to comply. You are not required by law to provide permission for your insurer to record your conversations.
  • Accepting the first offer: As badly as you want to put your accident and claim in the past, assuming that the first appraisal of losses is the best you can get is a mistake. It’s not out of the question for an insurance company to throw out a low ball offer to see if you bite.
  • Signing anything before you know your legal rights: If you trust your agent you may assume that signing something is no big deal. You don’t want to do this until you read the document, understand it entirely and know the impact it will have on your claim.
  • Accepting a check for final payment: You can do this at some point, but you don’t want to jump the gun. If you take a check for final payment it’s likely to mean there’s no more money to come.

The most important thing to remember is that your car insurance policy is a contract. You pay your premium every month so that you have coverage in the event of an accident. You shouldn’t let your insurance company push you around.

If you avoid these insurance claim mistakes after a motor vehicle accident, all the while focusing on your legal rights, you’ll feel better about your ability to secure the compensation you deserve.