Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re ever in an auto accident to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Whatever you do, even if you think you are, don’t admit to being at fault. That is for the insurance company to decide based on the facts surrounding the incident.
Move Out of the Road
To keep other drivers and yourself safe, move your vehicles to the side of the road and out of the lanes of traffic if possible. This reduces the chances of another accident occurring. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other traffic of the situation. If it isn’t safe to get out of the vehicle, everyone should remain in their position until help arrives or it is safe to exit.
Call the Police
It might seem like overkill, but it’s always beneficial to file a police report about the accident. This is useful when insurance companies need to determine fault, especially if the police department issues tickets for traffic infractions that may have contributed to the collision. The report should include all parties information along with statements of what happened from everyone involved and witnesses. A police report is also likely to speed up the claims process with your insurance company. If you decide that it’s not necessary to involve the police, ensure that you have the necessary information from the other parties including their name, address, phone number, insurance company and policy number so you can still file the claim.
In the age of smartphones, almost everyone has access to a camera on demand. Take photographs of the areas that are damaged for proof. Take photos of the damage to the other vehicles as well to help illustrate the chain of events to the insurance company. Pictures can validate your claims and protect you if there is a dispute with the other party or their insurance regarding what happened.
Know your Coverage
Don’t surprise yourself with unexpected bills by not knowing what your insurance policy covers if you do get into an accident. Towing expenses vary from one policy to another. Your automobile insurance company might offer to tow up to a certain distance, such as 10 miles, and charge you for each additional mile. You don’t want to get towed 30 miles and discover that you’re stuck paying for those other 20 miles. Costs add up. The same applies for rental car coverage. Most policies allow you to expand your towing and rental car coverage limits for a couple dollars a month, a small price to pay to eliminate a huge financial burden post-accident.
Automobile accidents aren’t something anyone anticipates happening, but they do every single day. Being prepared if you do unfortunately get into a car accident ensures that the process isn’t as overwhelming as if you had no idea what to do. You’ll also be more prepared for the process of submitting a claim without dealing with delays associated with discrepancies or lack of documentation.
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