From the Blog
What to Do After a Car Accident
After a collision, the next steps can be unclear. How do you make insurance claims? Where do you start? Here’s a step by step guide.
Right After the Accident
If you can do so safely, move your vehicle to a location out of the way of traffic. Turn off the car and get out if you can. If anyone needs medical assistance, call 911. If no one has sustained serious injuries, call the police to report the accident.
Gather insurance and contact information from the other driver. Get details about the accident from the driver as well as any witnesses. Later, when filing a claim, you will have everything written in black and white.
Don’t accept blame from the other driver and do not place blame on the other driver. That will come later when dealing with the insurance company.
Take photographs of the scene, including the other driver’s car, license plates, and any damage done. Note the direction each vehicle was traveling as well as traffic signs.
Exchange information, sharing your name and insurance company with the other driver, and vice versa. Make sure to get the following information:
- Year, make, model, and color of the other vehicle
- Weather and road conditions
- Driver and passenger names and ages
- Location of the accident
- The speed at which you were driving
- Date and time of the accident
- Time the police arrive, along with name and badge number
- Witnesses’ contact information
Whose Insurance Do I Call?
In simple accidents where the at-fault driver takes responsibility, you may not have to call your insurance company – unless, of course, you were the one at fault. If this is the case, the sooner you call your insurance provider, the sooner they can help you return to normal. If you bring your damaged car to Hance’s Uptown Collision Center, we will file an insurance claim for you so you don’t have to worry about this part.
What If the Other Driver Has No Insurance?
If the other driver is uninsured, this complicates things. It’s illegal not to have car insurance but people still try to get away with it. That’s why it’s important to have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. That way, after an accident, that coverage will kick in and help you pay your medical expenses.
You could, of course, press charges against the driver in small claims court. But often times, this costs you much more money than it would if you were to just pay for the damages yourself.
What Do I Need to File a Claim?
You will have to provide the following information to your insurance company:
- Policy number
- Date, time and location of the accident
- Detailed description of how it occurred
- Insurance and contact information of the other driver
- Name of the police department involved
- Police report number
Until fault has been determined, your insurance company will cover the cost for repairs and injuries, provided you have the appropriate coverage, such as collision or medical expense.
When getting repairs, keep in mind:
- You may have to use one of the insurance provider’s approved body shops; however, you can obtain an estimate at the collision shop of your choosing.
- Your adjustor will likely have you compare quotes at several area shops.
- If you decide to go with your own repair shop, you may have to cough up the difference between their estimate and the amount your insurer thinks is a fair price.