Every day across the United States, drivers are involved in vehicle accidents. This type of incident can be scary for both the driver and any passengers that he or she has in the car. It is important for people to understand how to deal with accidents and the subsequent auto insurance claims that follow. Don’t be affected by Clash of Clans blasting loudly on your son’s MacBook that you drive down the wrong lane and get into an accident!
Never Leave the Accident Scene
Car accidents can be both minor and major. It is against the law to flee the scene of an accident where property damage has occurred. The first thing to do is to attempt to move the car to the shoulder of the road if the accident is minor. This helps to prevent anyone from getting injured as they exit the vehicle. The hazard lights should be on and orange triangles and flares should be set out to warn other drivers in advance that an accident is up ahead.
Next, the driver should check on any passengers and then go to the other vehicle if there is one and check on the other driver and their passengers. If anyone has any visible injuries or is in any pain then an ambulance should be immediately called to the scene. The police should also be called so that they can document the scene.
Compile the Evidence
When there is property damage or medical injuries involved, photographs need to be taken so that claims adjusters can help to piece together what happened. Every vehicle accident is different so it is important to have photographic evidence to see who or what caused the collision to occur.
Exchange Insurance Information
Each driver should exchange their insurance information with each other and the police officer who is writing the report. It is crucial to the insurance claims process that the information is accurate. Sometimes people who are at fault for collisions give out fake information to avoid getting into trouble with their insurance company. Make sure to ask for the driver’s license information and copy down the license plate number as well. Witness statements should be taken by the police so that they have a fresh eyewitness account of what events transpired before the incident.
Call Your Auto Insurance Company
The day of the event, individuals should call their insurance company to open a new claim. Adjusters are usually available most of the day and evening. It is important for people to do this quickly because hesitating can delay the process to collect compensation for any auto repairs or medical bills that need to be paid for.
A claims adjuster will issue the driver a case number. It takes about a week or two for the claim to be processed depending on the type of accident and the damage that was done. It is a good idea for individuals to build their own case file with copies of the documents that they receive. If the car cannot be driven, then a rental car is usually covered by insurance while the adjuster is working on determining the amount of compensation that the policyholder should receive.
Meet the Claims Adjuster
When meeting with a claims adjuster, people should tell the truth. People who lie often get caught which can lead to serious consequences. Even being ruled the driver at fault is not the end of the world. Accidents happen and in some states, there are no-fault insurance laws so even then insurance companies will pay out money to each driver regardless of their actions at the time of the collision. A settlement will be offered to policyholders at the end of the claims process. A person can take the settlement or appeal it if they so choose to.