No one likes to think about being in a car accident, but statistically, it will happen to all of us eventually. Vehicle accidents are expensive: in the United States, they result in at least $242 billion in economic losses every year, and this doesn’t include emotional and societal losses.
You may already know that if you are determined to be at fault in a car accident, you will be responsible for covering the vehicle loss or repairs for the other driver, as well as the costs to treat any injuries to the other vehicle’s occupants. This, of course, is why you carry car insurance to prevent you from having to pony up tens of thousands or dollars (or more) in damages. In addition, you carry it in case the accident isn’t your fault, but the other driver is uninsured.
In the aftermath of an accident, you may not always be thinking clearly. It’s therefore worthwhile to take some time to understand what your first actions should be, from an insurance perspective, after an accident.
After the Accident, Gather Information
It will be easier to file an insurance claim if you take the time to document the accident and gather the pertinent information at the scene, provided it’s safe to do so. This includes exchanging contact and insurance information with the other party. But first, call the police so you will later have access to an official police report, even if it’s a minor accident. If you’ve missed anything, the police can help you fill in the blanks. Also, if possible, take photos of the scene before anything is moved, and gather contact information for any witnesses.
Contact Your Insurance Company
This is important to do as soon as you are safe. You may wish to wait until you’re home, so you have access to paperwork or digital logins. First, check your insurance coverage. If you can’t find a paper copy of your policy, you can probably find it by logging in to your insurance company’s website. Before you call your insurance company, make sure you know your policy number so you can verify your coverage and deductibles with an agent on the phone. Once you’ve found your policy, you can begin filing your claim, either over the phone or online. If you were not at fault for the accident, you may also need to contact the other party’s auto insurance company so you can begin the process of being reimbursed. (Ask your own insurance agent first, however, as they may do this for you.)
Be Prepared to Help Your Claims Adjuster
Your claims adjuster is the person your insurance company will assign to you to move forward with repairs or a vehicle replacement. The adjuster will communicate with repair shops, the other drivers’ insurance company or companies, witnesses and the police. He or she will investigate your accident, review repair and replacement estimates and ultimately get your claim settled. You will probably speak with this individual over the phone, or you may meet them in person. Be sure you have all the relevant paperwork before you speak with them, which will speed up the process.
Finally, be sure you have a reliable auto insurance agent on your side. To be sure that your auto insurance policy covers all scenarios, review your coverage in advance. In Connecticut, Petruzelo Insurance offers auto, personal and business policies that fit your needs and protect you in the event of a vehicle accident. Call us at 866-479-3327 or visit our website for more information.