No one plans to be involved in a car accident, but it happens to even the most careful drivers.
When the unexpected occurs, knowing the right course of action is crucial so you can respond calmly and not miss any important details. Appropriate actions can also help you protect yourself and ensure the safety of others. It may also simplify the process of working with your insurance company.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re in an accident.
Ensure Safety and Call for Help
The first thing to do after an accident is to make sure everyone is safe. If possible, move your vehicle off the roadway and turn on your hazard lights. See if you or your passengers are injured, and if it is safe to do so, check on the occupants of the other vehicle.
Next, call emergency services. You can call 911 to report the accident and ensure an officer is on the way. You can also tell the operator about any injuries so they can send an ambulance.
Never leave the scene of an accident before the police create a report. Unfortunately, other drivers may lie about the circumstances, and without an official report, there’s no proof of what actually happened.
If you are waiting for the police to arrive and injuries are not a concern, start documenting the damage from the accident. Take pictures of the damage to your car and the other vehicle. You should also take pictures of the position of the cars and the area where the accident happened. During this process, remain calm and avoid admitting or assigning blame for the accident.
When the police arrive to file an accident report, be sure to provide an accurate and detailed account of how it occurred. If there are witnesses, make sure that the police get statements from them. Additionally, it is important to exchange names, phone numbers, and insurance information with the other driver.
The police report, information about how the accident happened, and documentation of the damage will assist the insurance company in processing and settling the claim more efficiently.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Finally, you’ll need to contact your insurance company to get the claim process started. Don’t delay in reporting the accident — most insurance policies have requirements that claims have to be filed within a specific period of time.
If you’re concerned about your insurance rates going up, that’s normal. However, don’t let it stop you from filing and resolving the claim. Afterward, you can look at shopping around for better insurance rates. For example, Freeway Car Insurance has a great reputation for helping customers find affordable car insurance, even without a perfect driving record.
Once you’ve contacted your insurance company, be sure to send them all the information they need and cooperate with the claims process. That will help ensure everything is settled fairly, quickly, and accurately.
Preparation is Power
Car accidents can be scary, but knowing what to do afterward can help you react more calmly and efficiently. The key elements are ensuring safety, getting a police report, and filing a claim with your insurance company.
Once you’ve taken care of those steps, you will be back on the road in no time.