No one plans to have an auto accident but it does happen. If it happens to you, here are some steps to take to determine if you need to file a claim and when to involve the police.
When to file a claim
Determine how much damage your vehicle has sustained. Was it just a fender bender? Filing a claim may increase your auto insurance premium. If the damage was minor and will cost less than your deductible to repair it, it is usually best to go ahead and pay for the repairs yourself.
Is a police report needed?
If injuries are involved, call 911 immediately. If it is determined that everyone is okay, call the non-emergency police number. You must have a police report in order to file a claim.
Your next step is to call your insurance agent. If it is determined that you are not at fault your insurance company can act as your advocate and will take on the responsibility of dealing with the other driver’s insurance company.
Get the Details
- If possible, move the involved vehicles off the roadway to avoid another accident &/or injuries from happening.
- If available, use your phones camera to take pictures at the scene, including the damage to both vehicles. Include a picture of the other vehicles license plate.
- Exchange names, phone numbers and insurance information. You can copy the information from the other person’s insurance card or take a picture of it as well.
- If the police are involved request a copy of the police report. If you don’t receive a copy of the report at the time of the accident, you can request a copy from the courthouse. Accident reports are public record and are available to anyone for a small fee.
- The other insurance company will call you to verify your information and ask you questions regarding the accident. Write down the date, time and the name of the person calling you from the other insurance company. Let your insurance company know that the conversation took place.
- Complete all paperwork sent to you regarding the accident and return it promptly. The sooner the claim is filed the quicker you can get any necessary repairs made to your vehicle and get you back on the road again!
Download our free claims process tip sheet!
Insurance Advisors, Inc.