Imagine driving down the road late in the evening when all of a sudden, you see headlights veering into your lane and headed right toward you. Shocked, you slow down and hope the car gets back in their lane.
But as you get closer, the car doesn’t seem to be moving, and at the last second, both of you are forced to veer off the road and into the ditch. Your vehicle is severely damaged in the process.
What happens now? Is this covered under your insurance? Will the other driver be found at fault or argue it was your fault? Who are you supposed to call?
After a Vehicle Accident: Initial Steps
Fortunately, in accidents like these, no one gets hurt. Still, the damage is done to your car, and you’re left dealing with the police and handling your insurance company. Let’s go over exactly how to do this.
First, remember that even if there are no serious injuries, you need to call the police after any kind of car accident. When the police arrive, cooperate with them and give them the information they ask for, but never admit culpability for the accident — even if you believe you caused the crash. If there are any injuries, be sure to call an ambulance before calling the police. Safety should be your first priority.
Next, take documentation of the accident and exchange information with the other driver or drivers involved. You’ll want to take pictures and take notes. Get the following information:
- A copy of the police report
- The full name and driver’s license number of the other driver
- Their address and phone number
- Their insurance information
- A description of the other driver’s car
- Eyewitness accounts if there are any (plus the witnesses’ contact info.)
Tips for Filing Your Insurance Claim
At the scene of the accident, call your insurance company and ask to be assigned a claims adjuster. This person will guide you through the rest of the insurance process. One of the first things they’ll do is remind you of your insurance policy. Often, when you go a long time without an accident, you forget what your policy covers.
Ask about your limits and whether you have rental car coverage. If you do, your agent should work with you to find you a rental car while your vehicle is in the shop.
The next step is actually taking your car to the shop. If it’s un-drivable, you’ll need a tow truck. Again, ask your agent about this first before calling a tow truck on your own. If you pay for your own services, such as your rental car and your tow truck, you may not be reimbursed.
Your agent may recommend a “preferred” garage they like to work with, allow you to choose your own and show them the estimate for approval, or create their own estimate. Again, make sure your estimate is approved before telling the garage to start the repairs.
If your car is totaled, your insurance agent will not approve the repairs and will instead write you a check to start shopping for a new vehicle.
Choose an Insurance Company Who Will Take Good Care of You
What’s the best way to avoid a catastrophe with an insurance claim? Have a quality policy with ample limits from a reputable insurance company to begin with. In this case, you’ll never run into problems when you need to make a claim.
At Couri Insurance, we offer numerous auto plan options to meet your needs. Want to learn more? Give us a call or stop by our office at your convenience and one of our knowledgeable and courteous agents would be happy to speak with you.