Picture it: You and your family are headed to Lake Michigan for a weekend of fun in the sun when, on your way, a truck sideswipes you coming out of a gas station.
Both you and the truck driver stop and pull over to the side of the road. It seemed like an accident on the other driver’s fault, but who’s to know they won’t blame you? Moreover, will your car insurance cover this? Do you have to call the police?
Let’s take a look at exactly what you should do in a situation like this one to ensure that you protect your finances and get the most out of your insurance policy.
How to Best Handle an Auto Accident
- Move your car to a safe location.
Start by moving your car out of the flow of traffic if it isn’t already. Turn on your hazard lights, and keep your car off.
- Ensure the safety of you and all passengers.
Call out to everyone in the car directly after the accident. Make sure that no one is bruised, scraped, bleeding, unconscious, or having trouble thinking or focusing. If you see or suspect any type of injury, phone an ambulance right away by dialing 9-1-1.
- Call the police.
Phone the police so that they can send an officer to create a police report.
- Take photographs of the accident.
Use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident. These will be useful later if your driving or fault is called into question. Take as many photos as possible — all from different angles and viewpoints.
- Speak to the other driver.
Exchange important information, including your name and contact info. You’ll also need their insurance information (policy number and insurance company name). Finally, don’t forget to get their driver’s license number, a description of their car, and their license place number.
- Call your insurance agency.
Don’t wait to contact your insurance agency. Review your policy with your agent or claims adjuster, and get details on where to take your car for repairs. If your vehicle was totaled, ask about who to call for a tow, and if you require a rental vehicle, see about any rental car coverage you may have. Rental car coverage is not standard with all plans, but it’s an affordable endorsement you may have and should take advantage of.
- Take your car in for an estimate.
With the guidance provided by your insurance company, get an estimate on the damage to your vehicle. You’ll need to have this amount reviewed and approved by your insurance adjuster.
- Decide if your vehicle needs replacing.
Your insurance adjuster will be tasked with deciding if your vehicle is damaged beyond repair or not. This is their choice because they are the ones paying for your car’s repair or replacement. Most of the time, if your car was damaged severely (repairs will cost over 70% of the value of the car), it’s considered totaled.
- Ask about optional insurance.
Ask your insurance agent if you have optional insurance endorsements. GAP coverage (providing coverage for the difference between the value of your car and any amount you owe on financing) or new car replacement coverage (replacement of a new car with a new car when the car damaged had less than 15,000 miles on it and was less than a year old).
Only a Quality Insurance Agency Will Get Results
Want to make the claims process as simple as possible? Have an auto insurance plan you can trust. Philleo Agency Insurance is a trusted insurance company. We can help you find an auto insurance plan that meets your needs and saves you money. Call or stop by today to sit down with an agent and learn more about our policy options.