An accident on the road requires you attention. You must take proper steps to file a claim with your auto insurance or the insurance of another driver.
By taking specific steps, you avoid complications with the process of filing a claim. You can also get the timely assistance you need from your car insurance policy.
Start With Safety
If the occupants of the involved vehicles do not have major injuries, get the vehicles to the side of the road. This helps reduce the risk of another collision. However, only move the vehicles if the damages if they are still operational.
When an individual requires medical care, call for assistance. 9-1-1 will usually dispatch both police and emergency services. You want to inform the police and ensure that every individual involved in the accident is safe.
You should always keep a pen and paper in your car in case you need to take notes after an accident (or any other time, such as an impromptu grocery list). It’s also a good idea to keep a card with your medical information/allergies in the glove box in case you are critically injured in an accident and cannot communicate. Once you’ve safely pulled over (if your car is able to move) and turned on your hazard lights, get the following information from the other driver(s):
License plate number
Car make, model, year and color
Insurance company and policy number
Remember, never admit fault; rather, leave that to the insurance companies to determine.
Take Pictures of the Damage
Use your cell phone or a camera to take pictures of the damage. You want evidence of the severity of the damage before you call your auto insurance provider.
Even minor accidents may leave damage to your vehicle or the vehicle of the other driver. Document the damage to file a claim to repair the vehicle. Your insurer will use this evidence to verify the accuracy of your claim.
Call the Police
If you did not call for an ambulance or emergency care, call the police directly. You should do this either before or immediately after documenting the damage. However, in most cases, it is best to call the police first.
File a police report and have the other driver give their statement. When you file a claim with your car insurance, you may need to have a clear idea of who caused the accident. Filing a police report shortly after the accident prevents complications from mistaken memories.
Call Your Insurance Provider
When you have the documentation of the accident, call the claims service number of your insurance provider. Follow any prompts to file a claim and talk to the representative about the accident. You may need to send documentation of the accident when you file a claim.
The insurer may ask you to bring your vehicle to a specific mechanic or repair shop for an estimate of the damages. The insurance provider may also send a professional to your home to assess the damage.
When you caused the accident, a professional may also assess the other party's vehicle. Depending on your policy, your coverage and deductible payment options will vary.
Filing a claim is a process. You must provide details of the accident for an accurate assessment of the situation. You can work with your insurance provider by offering proof of the damage and a police report.
Being in a car accident can take a toll on you, both financially and emotionally—not to mention physically if you’re seriously injured. However, following these steps can help smooth the process and get you back on the road sooner.