An accident is just that…an accident. No one is ever really prepared for an automobile accident, but there are things you can do and think about ahead of time to manage the after-math of an accident.
Get Off the Road if Possible
If it is minor fender bender and the car or cars are still drivable, you don’t have to leave the cars where they are. Safely move to the side of the road. If you can’t move your vehicle, a tow truck will move it for you.
In the event that you are hurt in an accident, you will not be able to notify your loved ones of what has happened. Since most of us carry a cell phone, add a contact in your phone called “Emergency” and put the phone number of the one you want called in the event of an unforeseen accident. This will allow a fellow passenger, bystander or emergency medical technician to reach out to your contact sooner rather than later.
Being prepared can prevent stress after an accident. Keep a copy of your insurance information and driver’s license and a pen and paper in your car; it will make the post-accident process much easier when dealing with law enforcement and insurance companies.
Cell Phone Camera
Since most mobile phones come with cameras today, you can document the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle(s) if others are involved. But be sure not to put yourself in danger to do this. Take a shot of the scene and signs that might have contributed to the incident.
Your insurance company will need to process the accident claim. So you need to gather as much information as possible about the incident. This includes the insurance information of others involved, the police report if one was filed and names and contact information of any eye witnesses that were on the scene.
Repairing the Car
Since most of the driving we all do is local, consider ahead of time identifying where in your community you would take your car to be fixed in the event of an accident. You’ll also need to ensure that this auto repair shop is an approved vendor of your insurance carrier. It might save you some towing money if this pre-selected repair shop was the one called to tow your vehicle.
Filing a Claim
Depending on the amount of damage, decide whether it’s worth notifying your insurance company. Will your deductible cover the damage? Then don’t get your insurance company involved. If the damage is extensive, then call your insurance company immediately after a crash to start processing your claim. Your insurance company’s phone number is likely staffed 24/7. You will likely be contacted by your claims representative within 24 hours to discuss your claim.
Request a Quote
Request a quote from any auto body repair shop prior to them doing them work. Both you and your insurance company will also have to give them the go-ahead to do the work or they won’t get paid.