Things can be chaotic immediately after a crash, but following some basic steps can make filing your claim a little easier and make a stressful situation less taxing.
You can start preparing even before an accident happens. It is always a good idea to keep a copy of your insurance information and a pen and paper in your car; it will make the post-accident process much easier. Remember, you are required by law to always have proof of insurance with your vehicle. Plus today smart phones make it real easy with their camera capability you will be ready to take documentation of damages.
If you ever find yourself in this situation first priority is you, your passengers and pedestrians safety. Get to safety as quick as possible. If someone is injured contact 911, OnStar/ eAssist is also great for these circumstances. Remember to stay calm. Being in a car accident is scary but getting upset will make things worse. There’s no need to call the police if you only have a dinged bumper or a scratched door. Also for minor accidents move your vehicle out of the way of traffic. But if you can’t move your car without causing further damage, don’t try. Your insurance company should be able to hire a tow truck to move it for you.
Accidents can be full of high emotions but be careful what you say. It is a good idea to first make sure other driver isn’t hurt and then speak with them and get their information. Don’t admit fault or say “I’m sorry” during your conversation as it could be used against you in court.
During this situation be proactive. Try to collect the following information for your insurance company claim from all parties involved:
– Phone number
– Email address
– Make, model and year of the car
– License plate number
– Insurance carrier
– Insurance policy number
Take these photos, if you can:
– Damage to your vehicle
– Accident location
– People involved with the accident
Get information from the officer if one is on the scene:
– Badge or ID number
– Phone number
– Police report number
Also make sure to ask the police officer for a copy of the police report. The officer’s opinion of the accident will be useful if the drivers have a dispute during claims processing. The police report will also have the officer’s information on it just in case the officer is needed to testify.
Next step is to get in touch with your insurance company to start your claim via phone or website. Your insurance company should have personnel staffed around the clock.
Good luck, we hope you never find yourself in this situation.