Working in insurance I get a lot of calls from frantic people after an accident. Most of the time are questions like “should I call the police?” , “Should I move my car?” and “When should I make a claim?”
Here are a few things on what to do after a car accident.
Step 1: Check for injuries. Be sure to check yourself, and passengers.
Step 2: Get to safety.
Step 3: Call 911.
Step 4: Wait for help.
Step 5: Exchange information.
Step 6: Document the accident.
Step 7: Notify your insurer.
This post is sponsored by DCH Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram FIAT of Temecula
STEP 1: CHECK YOURSELF AND PASSENGERS FOR INJURIES.
If you’re injured, call 911 or make sure someone does – if anyone is injured try not to move, and wait for the paramedics to arrive.
STEP 2: GET TO SAFETY.
If your car is a hazard, and is safe to drive, pull over to the side of the road. If not, leave it where it is and make sure to get to safety.
STEP 3: CALL 911.
Whether an accident is considered a minor fender-bender or a major collision, calling the police is important — and in some states, it’s legally required. The responding officers will fill out an accident report and document the scene. If the police can’t come to the scene of the accident, you can go to the nearest police station and complete a report yourself.
STEP 4: WAIT FOR HELP.
Turn off your engine, turn on your hazard lights and use road flares to warn other vehicles to slow down.
STEP 5: EXCHANGE INFORMATION.
After making sure you and any passengers are uninjured, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. Here’s some of the info you need to get:
- Full name and contact information
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver’s license and license plate number
- Type, color and model of vehicle
- Location of accident
IF possible, take a photo of the drivers license and insurance card (trust me, this can come in handy when a claim is submitted).
STEP 6: DOCUMENT THE ACCIDENT.
In order to help protect yourself
- Identify the officers.
Once the police arrive, get the name and badge number of all responding officers.
- Get a copy.
Ask the police officers present where you can obtain a copy of the accident report.
- Take pictures.
Document the accident thoroughly by taking pictures of your vehicle from different angles, showing the damage done to both cars. It might also be a good idea to take pictures of the other car’s license plate.
- Take down names.
Write down the names and addresses of all parties involved, including any passengers in the other vehicle.
- Talk to witnesses.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, take down their names and their contact information, as well.
STEP 7: CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE AGENT
I normally suggest that you contact your agent after you are home and safe – you will need a good 20-30 minutes to turn in a claim, giving your claims adjuster or agent all the details that you collected at the scene.
An accident can leave you unsure and frazzled, so by following the above steps, it can help eliminate extra work, and unnecessary worries. It also helps your insurance company process the claim quicker and more efficient.