It’s time to brush up on what you should do in the event you’re involved in an auto accident.
Preparedness starts before you leave the driveway:
Put a disposable camera and pen and paper in your glove box. Car insurance claims can be settled faster if there’s a good record of what happened. If you can take photographs or collect license plate numbers, or even names and phone numbers of witnesses, these can all help your insurance company establish facts faster.
If you’re involved in a crash:
Move your vehicle out of the roadway, if you can. If your car is able to be driven, move it off of the road a safe distance. By getting off the road, you can help to avoid a second collision.
Turn on your flashers or your lights. You want to be certain your vehicle is visible to other drivers.
Check yourself and your passengers for injuries, as well as anyone else involved in the crash. Call 911 immediately if someone is injured. If you are not trained in the appropriate first aid procedures, do not move someone who is badly injured unless they are in danger of being hurt worse or killed (for example, if a car is on fire.)
Next, call local police to file an accident report, even if no one seems injured or the result does not seem catastrophic. Do not leave the scene of the accident until you receive their okay.
Start documenting what happened, if you can. If you’re able to do so safely, take photographs, make notes, ask witnesses for names and phone numbers. If you’re not able to do so safely, stand as far from the roadway— and the crashed cars—as you possibly can.
Exchange vital information with the other driver(s). Names, addresses, phone numbers are all useful to your insurance company in settling the claim.
Exchange only your insurance company name. Don’t discuss the details of your coverage with anyone at the accident scene. Limit your discussion of the accident and do not admit any fault or liability. You should talk about the accident with the police and your insurance agent and/or claim representative only.
Call your insurance company to report the crash. The earlier your insurance company knows about the crash, the faster it can get to work to resolve your claim. You can find a list of toll-free numbers and online claim reporting links for the companies we represent at www.cedarrisk.com.
Be sure to pick up the police report once it is ready (usually takes 1-3 business days to prepare). Read and review it for accuracy.
Always remember to contact your insurance agent if you have any questions or problems throughout the claim process!