After a car crash, you may be (understandably) shaken. It’s never a bad idea to brush up on what you should do after a car crash before it happens. If you’re a good (or lucky!) driver, it may have been years since your last car crash. Or if you’re a new driver, maybe you’ve never been in an accident. But accidents do happen, which is why it’s so important to have auto insurance. Read on to find out what you should do after an accident.
Before an Accident Occurs
There are a few things you can do to put yourself in the best position in case an accident does occur. Firstly, it’s never a bad idea to have a car emergency kit. Many companies sell pre-assembled kits, but it’s easy enough to put one together yourself. The kit should contain some important items that will help you out in a pinch. Check out our guide for what to put into a car emergency kit.
You should also have some standard tools in your car, such as a car jack, and a spare tire in case you get a flat. Keeping an aerosol tire inflator (such as Fix-a-Flat) in the car can also be extremely helpful.
And always make sure you have all required documentation in your car. Print a copy of your most up-to-date insurance cards and keep them in your glovebox, along with your vehicle registration. And lastly, make sure you never forget to get behind the wheel if you don’t have your license on you!
After the Car Crash
Check to make sure that you and your passengers are ok before checking in with the other vehicle or vehicles. If anyone is hurt, or if the accident is severe, call 911 immediately. Some states require the police report to the scene of an accident, and some do not, so check your state’s regulations to see what is required. If you are unsure of whether to call police or not, it’s never a bad idea to err on the side of caution and call anyway. The 911 dispatcher can help you determine the next steps you should take. And if the police do report to your accident, make sure you get a copy of the police report.
If your accident is simply a minor fender bender, and the police have a lot of high priority calls, they may not be able to get to your accident for a while. If the police do not come to your accident, you can also file your own accident report online with the police or DMV.
If nobody is hurt and the vehicles are still operable, it may be a good idea to move them off of the roadway, if you can safely do so. This prevents excessive traffic buildup, other cars from becoming involved, and further damage from occurring. Turn on your four-way hazard lights and carefully move out of the path of traffic, if you can. Otherwise, the police will help to clear the road when they arrive.
In an accident involving two drivers or more, you will want to make sure you get information from each driver involved. That means if you are in a four-car pileup, you will be getting contact information from three other drivers. Make sure you get all of the following information for each driver involved:
- Telephone numbers
- Insurance company
- Policy number
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
The more information you can get, the better. After all, knowledge is power.
It’s also advisable to take photos of the accident if you can. This will be very useful to your claims adjuster during the claims process.
Lastly, it’s important to not admit fault or apologize for the accident when talking with other drivers, even if you think you might be at fault. Let this be determined by the police who report to the scene, or by the claims adjuster who is assessing the damage. If you ever wind up going to court because of your accident, an apology may be seen as an admission of guilt, and make things more difficult for you down the road. It’s also prudent not to discuss your liability limits at the scene. The fact that you have insurance of at least the state minimum is all that matters.
File an insurance claim as soon as you can after a car crash. The statute of limitations varies from state to state, but if you wait too long, you might not be entitled to the coverage you deserve.
Effective Coverage Has Your Back
An auto policy from Effective Coverage guarantees you protection in case of an accident. Contact one of our talented car insurance professionals with any questions you may have at (800)892-4308 or click to get covered – whether you need auto insurance quotes online or coverage anywhere else!
And if you need renters insurance, we’ve got you covered there too. Effective Coverage offers the nation’s only completely mobile platform to quote and purchase renters insurance right from your phone or tablet in just one minute. Get an online renters insurance quote today and protect your family.