Imagine yourself driving home from a day shopping and having lunch with friends when all of a sudden, you’re rear-ended at a stop light.
Due to the shock of just being in an accident, it isn’t surprising that many drivers would not know what to do in a situation like this. Because of this, we thought we’d remind our readers what they should do if they find themselves in an accident.
Below is our guide for what to do directly after being involved in an auto accident and how to handle the insurance claims process with your insurance agency.
What to Do After the Accident
Immediately after an accident has taken place, if your car will still start and move, you need to move it to a safe location away from moving cars. Drive it to a nearby parking lot or the side of the road, and turn off the engine. Turn on the hazard lights.
Next, quickly check the status of your body and your passengers. Make sure everyone is free of bruises, scrapes, scratches, bleeding, and any other injuries. Sometimes, it can be difficult to know when to contact emergency medical services, but whenever you’re in doubt, make the 9-1-1 call.
Once you’ve established that everyone is safe, it’s time to call the police and to call your insurance agent.
You’ll also want to gather the facts. It’s surprising how much of the detail one will forget only hours after an accident.
To begin with, get the name, address, phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number, and insurance company name and policy number of the other driver or drivers involved in the accident.
Finally, take photographs of the accident. Make sure to get close-ups of the injuries and the accident itself. Take down the names and phone numbers of any eyewitnesses who saw the accident as well.
What to Do When Making an Insurance Claim
After notifying your agent, there are a few different scenarios that may take place with regards to your claim.
Traditionally, you would be asked to take your car to a body shop to get an estimate for the repairs needed to your vehicle. This estimate will likely need to be approved by your insurance company before work begins. If you are not sure where to take it, ask your agent as there may be body shops in your area that are pre-approved to do work by your insurance company. This can prove to make the claims process easier.
Finally, your insurance company will assess the damage and pre-approve your claim for a certain amount. From there you can choose which body shop to work with.
Remember that if you have severe damages to your car, it’s possible your insurance company will consider it “totaled.” This usually occurs when your assigned claims adjuster takes a look at the garage’s estimate and sees that the cost for repairs is more than 70% of the car’s current value. In this case, they’ll adjust your claim and give you money for the purchase of a new car.
Optionally, many companies now offer “new car replacement coverage.” This coverage will pay to replace your damaged car with a brand new one of the same make and model. This coverage is limited to vehicles that are relatively new with very few miles. The exact age and number of miles vary by the insurance company.
Choose Your Insurance Wisely, and the Claims Process Will Be Simple
Thiel Insurance Group in Appleton and Kimberly, WI is proud to provide extremely comprehensive insurance plans for residents of the area. Stop into one of our offices in Appleton or Kimberly, WI today, or give us a call to learn more.