When you’re in an accident, what you do immediately following impact is vital. From gathering information to documentation, it can mean the difference between easy claims coverage and a smooth repair process or hassle. So, what do you need to do to facilitate quick recovery from an auto accident?
- Move to a Safe Area if You are Able
If your vehicle is drivable, move to the shoulder of the road so you are out of the way of traffic. If you cannot move your vehicle, put on your hazard lights, cones or flares to alert others to your presence and inability to move. Put on your parking break and ensure it is safe to get out of your car before you open a door. Be aware that sometimes, it may be safer to remain in your vehicle until emergency crews arrive.
- Make Sure All Involved are Okay
Check to see if anyone involved was injured. Some injuries may be evident—call 911 ASAP. However, some injuries may not be immediately noticeable. It’s probably best to call 911 anyway.
- Call the Police
Even for a minor accident, call police. Nearly every insurance carrier want a police report to process your claim. If the accident is minor, a police dispatcher may advise you how to make a police report at a local substation if no officer is available.
- Exchange Information
Exchange information with the other party, including:
- Insurance information
- License plate numbers
- Names and numbers of the driver(s) and any passengers
- Makes and models of the cars involved
- The name and number of responding police officers
Do not give out any personal information beyond your insurance and contact information. And do not apologize, admit to or speculate about fault. Anything you say could cost you coverage.
- Document Damage and the Scene
It’s easy to forget details as the claims process drags on. Documenting the accident will help you provide the details your insurance carrier needs to process your claim. Documentation that will be helpful includes:
- Detailed photos of the damage and of the scene (including any street signs or signals)
- Names and numbers of any witnesses
- Notes about the circumstances and conditions, such as speed and direction you were traveling and what contributed/led to the accident and how it happened
- File a Claim with Your Insurance
As soon as you are able (maybe even while you’re waiting for police to arrive), contact your insurance agency to report the accident. The agent you talk to on the phone will help you understand what will happen to open and process the claim. They may also provide some helpful tips for documentation you’ll need about the scene/circumstances to make the process go more smoothly. Once the accident has been reported, documented and “claimed,” you’re ready to begin the collision repair process. And the first step for that is to get your car to Quanz Auto Body for a full inspection and repair quote. We are a preferred partner by seven major insurance carriers, and we offer on-site Enterprise car rental. We make the rest of the accident repair process better.