Working in insurance I get calls daily from upset, scared clients who were just involved in an accident; and nearly every single one of them have no idea what to do. Everyone should be prepared and know what to do in case of an accident – and here’s a list of exactly what you need to know.
This post is sponsored by Cars on Market.
Always Have Your Insurance Card with You.
Not only will the police officer ask for your proof of insurance (and trust me, if you don’t have it with you it makes the whole accident process even more stressful) but you will need to exchange information with the other party. Most of the time the at-fault party will want to provide the non-fault party with their insurance info to turn in the claim to their insurance company, but this will vary depending on state.
Use Your Cell Phone.
First off, having a cell phone to call the police is the most important – but secondly it is great for documenting damage to BOTH vehicles. This can be useful if there is any dispute about the amount of damages to the vehicles once the claims process starts. Also if the other party confesses to being at fault, its good to get that on video/or recorder as well.
Take Notes on Everything.
From the name of the officer and his badge number, to the color of the car that was involved in the accident with you. Get as much info as you can during the accident – note any passengers names and numbers, as well as witnesses and any other info that you may think would be useful to give to your insurance company.
Keep a Garbage Bag in Your Car for your Belongings.
Just in case your vehicle is totaled, its best to gather all your belongings before your vehicle is towed off to a junk yard or storage lot. These places can make it very difficult to let you come in and get your stuff until they get paid their storage/tow fees, Sometimes this can take your insurance companies days or sometimes weeks to get everything handled and if you need a car seat, your purse, or any other item in your car its best to get it now versus later.
Get Help, THEN Call Your Insurance Company.
You don’t have to call your insurance company from the scene; get all the info you need, photos, etc and once you have talked to a police officer, been inspected by a medic, get home and once you have some time to sit down and talk , call your local insurance agent and talk to them. Most of the time they will verify some information with you and then get a claim submitted so the claims process can begin and you can get back to business.
If you don’t have full coverage and your vehicle is totaled, you can find places that will give you cash for your damaged car!