While it’s our hope that you’re never in an automobile accident, knowing what to do if you are in an accident can help you avoid making detrimental mistakes that impact your coverage. Here are the five most important things to do immediately following the collision.
#1 – File a Police Report
It’s common for drivers to make impulsive decisions in the aftermath of an accident. They might reassure the other driver that it wasn’t their fault, openly confess to being at fault, or agree not to file a police report if the damage doesn’t seem adequate enough to report. However, it’s always important to file a police report, and in some states, auto body shops must request a copy of the police report before they can begin repairs (to deter drivers from leaving the scene of an accident). Call 911, report the accident, and do what they ask you to do while you wait.
#2 – Notify Your Insurance Agent
Once you’ve called law enforcement, call your insurance agent as soon as practical for advice and guidance. Your agent is your advocate and can help you make decisions that are in your best interest long-term.
#3 – Collect Key Information
Take a look around and gather as much information as you can, taking notes and photographs whenever possible. Information that will be most useful later includes:
- the names and contact information of others involved in the accident: drivers, passengers (in your vehicle or any other vehicle involved), and pedestrians
- the names and contact information of anybody who witnessed the accident and stopped
- Insurance information for any other driver involved in the accident
- details surrounding the accident: when and how it happened, description of vehicles involved that either left the scene or witnessed the accident but didn’t stop
- photographs of damage to your vehicle, any other vehicles, or property
- photographs of any visible injuries
This information will be helpful as you work with the police on the accident report and as you work to file an insurance claim with your carrier.
#4 – Watch What You Say
It’s easy to misstep in the heat of the moment, but stop and think before you overshare with other parties or admit fault. Drivers who aren’t at fault or aren’t cited for being at fault sometimes self-incriminate when under stress, making it more challenging to hold the party at fault accountable for any losses later. Instead, wait until the police arrive and then answer their questions factually without admitting guilt.
#5 – Assist Law Enforcement
Once law enforcement arrives, cooperate with the officer(s) on scene to ensure the police report is thorough and accurate. Follow any instructions they provide and ask for a copy of the report – if possible – before they leave the scene.
When you’re done and no longer at the scene, call your insurance agency again. They can walk you through the next steps from filing a claim to schedule repairs and ensuring any injuries are treated promptly. To learn more about auto insurance, area, or to request your free quote, visit Awesome Insurance Consultants online today!