You’ve been in an automobile accident – now what? We hope this quick list makes it easy to remember what to do and what not to do to ensure you have the best coverage and best possible outcome after an unfortunate event like a car accident.
Don’t Forego Reporting the Accident
We see it all the time. Both drivers are shaken up, worried about their insurance premiums going up, and in a hurry, so they visit after an accident and decide it won’t pay to report it.
However, some states require auto body shops to request a copy of the police report before they begin repairs (this is to deter hit and runs), so failing to report can make it impossible to schedule repairs on your vehicle. The problems continue; if you have a lienholder on the title of your vehicle, that lienholder most likely requires that you repair the damage, leaving you failing to comply with the terms of your agreement.
Worst yet, you put yourself at risk of legal action. If the other driver comes back and claims that you were at fault and left the scene, you’ll have no police report to fall back on.
Instead, always notify law enforcement immediately following an accident.
Don’t Say it was Your Fault
Collisions are complex, and the other driver may be feeling just as at fault as you think. However, as soon as you admit fault, the investigation becomes unnecessary, and you and your insurance company can be held liable for any damages that occurred – and that includes damage to vehicles, property, and persons involved in the accident.
Instead, answer the police officer’s questions as accurately as possible without sharing information that hasn’t been requested of you.
Don’t Leave the Scene
Emotions can flare following a collision, leaving drivers to make rash decisions with big consequences. Sometimes drivers are afraid that there could be criminal charges (perhaps they were distracted at the time of the accident), and they leave the scene out of fear. However, there will definitely be criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident.
Instead, take a deep breath and call Chris, your insurance agent for guidance. He or she can help ensure you notify the right parties.
Don’t Assume You’ll Remember the Details
As we work with drivers to process claims, we often hear them struggle to remember the details: “I think I was turning left already when he hit me…or wait…maybe he was already in the lane when I turned left”…It is exceptionally hard to remember the details of an accident hours or days later.
Instead, take note of as many details as possible, including contact and insurance information for the other driver(s) involved, name and contact info for any passengers in the vehicles involved, and the details of the events leading up to the accident.
Don’t Discuss the Accident with Other Parties
You can ask for contact information and insurance details from other parties involved, but don’t talk about the events leading up to the accident or the accident itself.
Instead, discuss with law enforcement and your insurance agent.
For a free car insurance quote, visit Cornerstone Insurance Group online or call me @ 763.494.4743.