Did you know that the average American is in a car accident every 7 years? There’s nothing convenient about them but there are many ways that you can make the process as painless as possible. Below you will find out guide to help you avoid any additional expenses and to overall keep yourself sane. This post is obviously written about the best case scenario, a simple fender bender but many of the steps can still be applied in all situations. The most important thing to do in any situation is to stay calm.
The key to making the unfortunate event of being an accident more bearable is preparation. Put together an “emergency preparedness kit”:
- cell phone
- disposable camera
- pen and paper
- medical ID card – make sure it has your health insurance numbers, any allergies, etc.
- contact names and numbers
- first aid kit
- small road cones, emergency flares and Mylar blankets.
After you have your kit put together, follow these steps after you’ve had an accident:
#1. Remain calm and make sure everyone is okay
The first thing to remember is that everyone is okay, and your car is a material thing…no matter how much you love it. Take a minute and collect yourself, and make sure that you and everyone else (including the other vehicle) is safe.
#2. If necessary move your vehicles to a safe place
Once you’ve established that everyone is okay, if the vehicles involved in the collision are in the way of traffic, move them to a side street, or a place where you won’t interfere the flow of traffic. More importantly than getting out of the way of traffic you’ll be keeping everyone safe. Remember, there are going to be lots of first responders who will be showing up, be it police, fire, EMT, etc. who will be out of their vehicles and standing very close to moving vehicles.
#3. Report the accident
Now that you’ve moved to a safe place, if nobody is injured in the accident call the non emergency number for the police department where it happened. You can easily find this by Googling “LOCATION Police Non Emergency Number”. If you can’t find it, you can easily 911 and inform the operator that you were involved in an accident, that everyone is okay and that you need a police officer to come file the report.
#4 – Exchange Car Insurance and License Details
Most police departments will give you a little card that has the other driver’s information, however if the officer doesn’t give you one then exchange the information yourselves. You’ll both need this for when you file the report. Make sure you get the following information:
- phone numbers
- driver’s license number
- license plate number
- insurance company and policy number
It may also be helpful to jot down the make, model and color of the vehicle.
#5 – Never admit fault
When it comes to facing off with the driver, never say “im so sorry, it was my fault”. This can come back to bite you, especially if the police officer finds otherwise. You pay good money in taxes and to your insurance company so that in the event of a car accident you never have to admit that fault.
#6 – Document the accident
Using either your disposable camera or your camera phone, take pictures of the damage to both vehicles. Make sure you get your car, the other car and the entire scene to give a good perspective of the event. Also, make sure that if your car is being towed that you know where it is going.
#7 – Report the accident
Make sure you report the accident within 24 hours. You will have to call your insurance agency and be prepared to be on the phone for quite some time. When you report the accident, make sure you ask about rental coverage while your car is being fixed. Be prepared to have the rental car for awhile, depending on how long it will take them to fix it.
Once you’ve reported the accident, and you’ve been set up with a rental car, you now need to wait until you hear from your adjuster. They will call you and let you know how much its going to cost to get the car fixed, or if its totaled. If your vehicle is totaled, contact your local dealership and begin looking for a new car. For example, our dealership specializes in getting you into your new car and dealing with your insurance agency.
If you have more questions about getting into a new car after yours has been in an accident, give us a call at 330-SWEENEY and we’ll be more than happy to assist you.