Chances are high that even the safest of drivers will be in an accident at some point, whether minor or major. If that happens to you, make sure you are prepared in order to protect yourself from the financial and emotional toll an accident can have. What to do if you are in a car accident?
Tips On What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident
To prepare yourself, in the event of an emergency, keep an emergency kit in your glovebox. In the kit include things like a cell phone, pen and paper, disposable camera and a card with medical information such as allergies listed on it. It is also a good idea to keep a list of your contact/emergency numbers handy for law enforcement agencies.
Know what your insurance policy covers in the event of an accident. Check for coverage on towing and rental car coverage; this will ease any unnecessary stresses after the fact. DO NOT give any of your coverage information to the other driver or to a claim representative of his/her insurance company.
Above all, you want to remain calm and keep yourself (and anyone with you) safe. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind.
- Don’t hastily accept claim settlements at the scene of the accident.
- If there are no serious injuries, move cars to the side of the road, or if possible to a near by parking lot. If the cars cannot be moved, remain in your car with your seatbelt on and your hazard lights on until emergency services arrive.
- As soon as possible (and is safe to do so), use your cell phone or camera to snap a picture of the other vehicle’s license plate. If there is nothing to take a picture with, jot down the plate number. We have several instances of drivers who leave the scene without exchanging information. They are probably not insured and do not want to deal with the police.
- Call the police, even if it’s a minor accident; you want to make sure a police report gets filed. This will help expedite the claim process. It is also a good idea to file a state vehicle accident report, this report is available at police stations and the Department of Motor Vehicles. The officer on site will assess who is at fault. They will then give you a report number that you need to keep handy and in a safe place.
- Have your driver’s license and proof of insurance ready so you can give it to the police and to exchange information with the other driver.
- Exchange information with the other driver. You will need the following: name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver’s license number and license plate number. If the name on the registration is different than the driver, write down the relationship between the owner and the driver.
- Write a description of each car including make, model, year, and color. Also note the exact location of the collision and how the accident happened. Note specific details about damages to all cars involved. At this point, it would be a good idea to take out your camera to take pictures and document damage to the cars.
- DO NOT discuss the accident details with the other driver(s) except for the necessary information needed to file the insurance claim. Never admit fault or sign any documentation, unless it is the police report you are signing.
- If possible, do not leave the accident scene before the other driver or the police do.
- If the accident occurs during business hours we suggest you contact the agency first. We can explain the claim procedures and we’ll submit the claim for you.
- If it has been established that it is your fault, you can call your own car insurance company. If you are not at fault, call the other driver’s insurance company to make a claim with them. If you need assistance contacting the other insurance company please let us know so that we may assist you.