A car accident can occur in a matter of seconds. One driver accidentally backs into another in a parking lot, or two drivers accidentally collide on the highway. Regardless of the circumstances, the damage to all vehicles involved can be significant and expensive.
In the first few moments after a car accident, feeling confused is normal. After you’ve made sure that everyone is safe, your next thought is likely to focus on the cost of the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles involved. Fortunately, if the driver responsible has insurance coverage, the cost of the damage may be covered by the insurance policy. To give your claim the best chance of being covered, follow these steps after being involved in a car crash.
1. Move your vehicle to a safe location and get help if necessary.
The first step after an automobile accident is to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Move the vehicles out of the path of traffic and use hazard lights, flares or other measures to draw attention to the accident. You should also check for injuries and call an ambulance at this time if anyone is hurt.
2. Call the police.
Regardless of the seriousness of the accident, you should always call the police. When the police come to the scene, they will file a report that can be used later in the claims process to establish which driver is at fault for the accident.
3. Collect as much information as possible.
The more information you have on hand, the easier it will be to file a successful claim for compensation. Before you leave the scene of the accident, collect information from every driver and passenger involved in the accident. Be sure to write down license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers, vehicle descriptions and the name of the police officer who wrote your report.
4. Call your insurance agent.
The next step in dealing with an auto accident is to call your insurance agent. Tell him or her what happened and ask what you should do next. If your policy includes rental car coverage, your agent can also help you obtain a rental car at this time.
5. Obtain estimates for the cost of repairs.
Before the insurance company will pay to repair your vehicle, you will need to obtain estimates from local body shops. You can obtain estimates from repair shops of your choosing. In some cases, it may also be possible to obtain an estimate from a shop that has been preapproved by the insurance company. If you obtain an estimate from one of these pre-approved shops, your insurance company may not involve an adjuster in the repair process.
If the estimates you obtain show that the cost to repair your vehicle is more than approximately 70 percent of your vehicle’s total value, the insurance company may “total” the vehicle instead. In this case, you will receive a check for the depreciated value of your vehicle minus your deductible, and the company will not pay for any repairs.
The insurance claims process is often stressful and confusing. However, you can simplify this process considerably by working with the right insurance agency in the first place. The best insurance agencies will not only help you choose the right coverage for your needs, but they will also be available to help you throughout the claims process so you can resolve the matter as quickly as possible. Contact Brian Van De Hey Insurance today to discuss your auto insurance needs.