No one wants to have a car wreck. Still, sometimes, accidents happen. When they do, they can be scary, frustrating and inconvenient. Nevertheless, it is important to keep your wits about you.
The law and your insurer will often require a reporting process to document the accident. The right reporting might determine blame and penalties for the accident. Therefore, if you ever find yourself in a wreck, keep these tips in mind. They might help make the process easier.
Call the Police
Even with minimal damage or injuries, it’s often necessary to call the police after an accident. Police can help contain the scene of the accident. They also will most likely start the accident report and investigation if necessary. You might need this report when you file a claim with your insurer. So, consider the police an advocate that can help you get appropriate documentation.
Talk to the Other Driver
If you collide with another vehicle, the two drivers will have to exchange information. The key here is to do so politely, professionally and efficiently.
Don’t let anger get the best of you, and do not play the blame game. Never admit guilt or innocence in the accident — that’s the job of the police and insurers. Also, don’t leave the scene without exchanging contact and insurance information with the other driver. If there were any witnesses to the accident, take down their names and their contact information, as well.
Get a Police Report
When the police arrive, they will likely take statements, license and insurance information – as well as other documentation from the accident victims. They will then likely write up an accident report. This accident report might prove critical in establishing fault in the accident. Get a copy of the report for your records. Also, ask the responding officer any questions that you might have about the report.
In some instances, police will not start the report process if your accident occurred on private property.
Call Your Insurer
You usually need to call your insurance agency before leaving the accident scene. The insurer will start a claim, and help you understand how you qualify for help based on the plan. They might direct you to collect certain evidence to help verify your claim. This could include photos, the police report and the other driver’s information. Sometimes, your insurer will immediately dispatch a claims specialist to the scene of the accident to gather this evidence themselves.
When working on your claim, ask your insurer how your accident might affect your car insurance. Some drivers see their policy premiums rise following the accident. Others might see no effect on their policies. Work with your insurer to settle the claim as soon as possible.
An accident can leave even the most seasoned driver frazzled, but following these steps may help protect you from unnecessary worries. That way, you can focus on working with your insurance company to get your vehicle repaired as smoothly and as quickly as possible.
If you have questions on the claims reporting process, contact Aitken and Ormond. Our agents are ready and willing to help.