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What should I do if I'm in an accident to avoid headaches and delays in getting my car and life back to normal?

2014-07-28 14:00:00

If you haven't been in a car accident before, knowing what to do and what NOT to do can make a big difference to how quickly things get back to normal.

Lack of informationat the time of the accident can delay claims by days, and be costly not to mention inconvenient.   

Why should you bother to collect information when there will be an official police report?  Police reports may not become available for up to 5 working days after the accident.  That’s a long time!      

If  the other party is at-fault and you submit the claim to your own company (assuming you have full coverage on your damaged vehicle) you will need to pay the deductible upfront for the repairs, and  then wait weeks (or more!) for the responsible insurance company to reimburse you for the deductible.  Better to have the responsible party pay your damages directly if possible.   

Did you know that approximately 30% of all accidents involving commercial trucks are never reported by the driver?

Some  drivers presume ‘no fault insurance’ means everyone handles their own repairs.  Not true!!   


Here is the information you should gather at the time of the accident:

Location of the accident.

Name, address and phone numbers of the driver of the vehicle.  An email address wouldn’t hurt either.

Get the insurance company name and policy number.  They are required by law to carry this in their vehicle so they should have it.  If you don’t have yours, call your agent to email or text your ID card to you.

Photos of the accident scene and damages are helpful. Were there stop signs, yield signs or road conditions you think your adjuster will want to know about?

And don’t forget to call the police or highway patrol right away, especially if the other driver doesn’t want to.  This might be the time to get a photo of their license plate, just in case.      

Then, call your agent  to report your claim or contact your insurance company directly if its after hours. 

There might be an App for that!   If your insurance company offers a “claims app”, download it and be ready just in case.   Hopefully it will be one App you  never use.