Accidents happen when we least expect them. Auto accidents are no exception. Here are some steps to take if you are involved in a crash:
- Most important, establish whether anyone is injured. If so, call 911immediately.
- Unless you are blocking traffic, try not to move cars until the police arrive. However, safety is your first priority. If you feel unsafe, move your car to the side of the road.
- If there are no injuries or an accident occurs on private property, the police may not respond. Be sure to obtain complete insurance information and identification. Write down the license plate number and the vehicle identification number (VIN).
- One party may not want to call the police and accepts blame at the scene. This may be an option, providing you have the contact information of neutral witnesses – passersby who witnessed the accident (not your passengers). But note: Once the at-fault party realizes rates will increase, the story may change. It’s always best to call the police and ask them to respond.
- At the scene, do not argue about who is at fault. Exchange information and tell the other party he or she will hear from your insurance carrier.
- If you have your cell phone, take pictures or a video of the accident scene.
- Call your agent right away. Most insurance companies have toll-free numbers to report your claim, and reporting delays can jeopardize your coverage. Keep your insurance card in your vehicle so that you can prove you have up-to-date coverage.
- Consider carrying flares in your trunk.
Many of us drive for years without an accident. However, as distracted driving grows, accidents will increase. It is always better to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.