Most insurance policies require you to provide a Notice of Loss to the insurance company in the event you suffer property damage or loss, and want to file a claim. A Notice of Loss is typically a document (it might also be a letter you send to your insurance company) detailing the losses and the circumstances surrounding how they occurred. It is particularly important in accident cases, because if you were at fault in any way, your insurer may need to defend you. If you don't immediately tell your insurer about the accident, your insurer may lose its ability to gather all the evidence it needs to make a strong defense. This is why, when you are involved in an accident, most insurance policies require you to contact your insurance company right away. Should you fail to tell your insurance company about an accident in a timely manner, the insurance company may try to deny coverage for the accident.
After you have notified your insurance company of an accident, the policy may require you to "Tender the Defense" of any claims arising out of the accident to the insurance company. This means that you are required to allow the insurance company to hire an attorney or otherwise participate in the settlement and litigation of claims against you by third parties.
Once your insurance company compensates you, you must give up your right to pursue third parties for compensation of the loss the insurance company has paid. This right is called a "Subrogation Right" - it enables the insurance company to be compensated for its payment to you by recovering from the negligent third party.
If you were in a car accident and need help receiving payment for your losses, contact an experienced car accident attorney right away. If your loss was another type of insured loss, perhaps to your home or your belongings, contact an insurance lawyer for help.