Getting into a car accident can be scary and overwhelming. What do you do next? And what happens after the accident? Below are 5 steps to review if you should find ever yourself in the event of an accident and is helpful to discuss with newly licensed and young drivers in the household.
1. Stay calm. This may be the hardest step, but also one of the most important. Losing your cool will only make matters worse. Stop your car and check if you or any of your passengers are injured. Then, check on the condition of the people in the other car(s).
2. Call the police. Get in contact with the local police department and tell them about the accident—specifically, where the accident occurred, if anyone is hurt, and what happened.
3. Get yourself and your vehicle off the road. It’s important to get off the road so you are out of the way of traffic, which can help ensure no one else gets hurt. Only move your vehicle if it is safe to do so. Don’t risk further injury to yourself or others if your vehicle isn’t drivable.
4. Exchange information with the other drivers. This is an essential step in the process. Collecting the right information upfront can help make the claims process with your insurance company a breeze. The following information should be obtained:
· Names and addresses of all drivers and passengers
· Makes and models of the cars involved
· Auto insurance information of the drivers
· Names and phone numbers of any witnesses
· Responding police officer’s name and badge number
5. Take photos of the accident (If safe to do so). Visual proof of the damage and scenario can help your insurance company assess the damage and work faster for you.
*** Most importantly, contact your insurance company or independent agent as soon as possible after the accident. They can start working for you immediately and help you get your life moving forward.
The Claims Process:
After you call your agent, one of the first things that will happen is a claim number will be assigned and a claims adjuster will be assigned to your claim. The claims adjuster assigned to your claim will contact you and be your guide throughout the process of getting an estimate for your vehicle. The method of inspection will be determined by the severity of the damages to your vehicle.
Whether your car needs a minor repair or is a total loss, the claim representative’s job is to answer any questions and help get you back on the road.
Depending upon your state of residence, some insurance companies may require you to choose from a list of preselected body shops for repairs.