When you have an accident, your auto insurance coverage may not be top of mind. However, after you make sure that everyone is safe and secure your vehicle, you need to note down as many details as possible and decide whether to file a claim.
Here are the steps to take after a car accident to help you successfully file an insurance claim — or decide not to. Use these tips to make the claims process less stressful.
1. Check For Injuries
Immediately following the accident, find out if anyone sustained injuries. Call 911 to get the police and an ambulance en route. Even if everyone cooperates, you may want to call the police. This way, you get a report to pass on to your insurance company.
2. Move Yourself And Your Vehicle To A Safe Place
If you can drive your car, move it to the shoulder of the road to avoid further damage. Setting up emergency triangles or flares warns oncoming traffic and makes your car more visible to first responders. If you think there's any chance for a fire or explosion, move a safe distance away.
3. Gather Information
Most states require that parties to an accident provide insurance information and full names at the scene. Don't admit guilt or place blame. Instead, concentrate on documenting as much as you can, including:
- The other driver's name and insurance information
- The other driver's phone number, if they give it freely
- Contact information for witnesses
- Photos of damages and accident scene
- The police report number, officer's name, and contact information
- Personal notes about what happened
Having a smartphone makes it easy to record this information and take pictures, as well as call for help.
4. Determine The Type Of Insurance That Would Apply
Your auto insurance claim often depends on who caused the accident. What type of insurance you have versus what the other driver has also impacts the claims process. If the other driver has little or no insurance, your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can help fill in the gap, if you didn't cause the accident. If the accident was your fault, you might need a combination of collision and comprehensive car insurance, as well as emergency roadside service.
Discuss all the possible scenarios with your Automatic Insurance agent, Then, you can have peace of mind when you get behind the wheel.
5. Decide Whether A Claim Will Benefit You
If you caused the accident and but there was little damage, consider whether it's worthwhile to file a claim. Getting an estimate on the repairs can help you make that decision. If the damage is less than your deductible, it may not be worthwhile to file a claim.
Contact your Automatic Insurance agent for more information about how you can prepare for an accident.