Imagine this. You are driving down a country road on a warm summer night. It is dark out and you are on your way home from a great night of hanging out with your friends. You are about to take a turn when SMACK you are hit by an oncoming car. You and the other party both come to a stop and thankfully you are both okay minus a few scratches, bumps, and bruises. However, the cars do not look good. You have officially been in a car accident. What now?
Check for Injuries
Check yourself for injuries first and then if you are not too hurt to move, check on any other passengers in your car. If able, you should also check on any other parties involved in the accident as well as bystanders for injuries. If you or anyone else is injured, call emergency services or ask someone else to call emergency services immediately.
Get to Safety
If your vehicle is able to move and you are not seriously injured, move the vehicle out of the road to the shoulder or side of the road. If the car is unable to move, put your hazard lights on, shift into park, and turn the vehicle off. Use cones, warning triangles, or flares if you have any, to alert others that your vehicle is in the road. If you are able to move, get yourself to safety as well by standing or sitting off to the side of the road while you wait for emergency services and/or police.
Call the Police
Even if an accident is minor, it is vital to always call the police to the scene. A police report can be invaluable to the claim process and help establish who is at fault for insurance purposes. If the police are unable to make it to the scene (which can sometimes happen if there are no injuries) you can still file an accident report through your state’s DMV or the local police station.
Gather information from any other party who is involved in the accident. This information should include the following:
- Drivers and passengers’ names and contact information
- Vehicle descriptions (make, model, and year)
- Driver’s license numbers
- License plate numbers
- Insurance companies and policy numbers
You should also gather the names and contact information of any bystanders, the accident scene location or address, any police officer names, and badge numbers. You should also request a copy of the accident report from the responding police officers. Take photos of all vehicles involved and the accident scene, some insurance apps have claims tools that you can use to do this otherwise use your phone or camera.
Do not sign any document unless it’s for the police or your insurance agent. Be polite and work with police, but don’t tell anyone the accident was your fault, even if you think it was. Avoid discussing fault when going over the facts with the other driver.
File A Claim
Call your insurance agent. You can do this while at the scene of the accident to ensure you get exactly what they need in order to process the claim. You can always call back and add in more details once you have calmed down from the accident if you need to. Your insurance agency can work with you to guide you through the claim and ensure that your vehicle is repaired as smoothly and quickly as possible as well as make sure you get coverages that you have applied.
So now that we have covered what to do in the event of an accident, is there any way we can prepare for the event of an accident if the unexpected should ever happen? Yes. The following are things that you can do to prepare for the unexpected:
Pack a Safety Kit
You can pack a safety kit to keep in your car should you ever be in an accident. This should include first aid items such as bandages or gauze, alert items such as flares or safety cones, as well as other items such as water or blankets.
Have Information Ready
Keep important documents at the ready. This includes your ID, additional insurance company contact information, your vehicle registration, health plan information, etc. By having this information ready you can streamline the process at the scene.
Have your phone on you and charged when you go on the road. Keep loose items in the center console or glove box so that they cannot get lost or fly around in an accident. Always be on alert and keep your eyes on the road.
Speak with your insurance agent and make sure that you have the coverage you need in the event of a crash. Make sure that you understand the types of coverage you have and that you have all the necessary information you may need to share with the police and other parties should the unexpected happen. You also can print this list out and keep it with your important documents so that you don’t forget anything or ask your insurance agent for a list of items they would need to file a claim.
No matter how clean your driving record, you never know when an accident can happen. You’ll be glad you prepared yourself in the event of the unexpected. Give Gannon Associates Insurance a call today at 844-GANNONS and ask to speak to an agent to start preparing now and protect yourself and your vehicles.