When you’ve just been in an accident, it might be hard to know what to do. Even under the best of circumstances where all parties are safe, it can be nerve wracking. However, there are critical steps you need to do right after an accident to avoid heavy financial burdens later on.
Under the stress of just being in a fender bender, things can get really confusing even when you know what to do. To help you know what to do, this article lays out the simple steps you would need to follow in the event of a car crash.
Call the Police
Contacting the police is standard, even when your accident is just a minor bump. You need to get a police report in order to file an auto insurance claim. Apart from acquiring an official report, there are other benefits to having police officers present at the scene:
- In case the other parties involved in the accident are uncooperative or become irate, the police can help mediate the situation and can restrain people if needed.
- Police officers serve as the objective third party. After an accident, the drivers involved can still be shook up. In this case, the police may be able to assist in assessing the damage fairly and accurately
- The police can make sure that everyone is safe. This function is especially important if there’s an injured party, someone is trapped in a car, or there’s a dangerous hazard like a fuel leak. Police officers can make sure that ambulances and emergency services arrive at the scene as soon as possible.
Record Information About Your Accident
Given that all parties are safe, it is important to take down details and document the accident as much as possible. Take pictures at different angles showing the full extent of the car crash. You can zoom in on specific damages to each car. Take note of the license plate numbers and models as well.
If possible, talk to the other parties and get their details. Try to remain as calm and clear as possible. You would want to get, at least, the other drivers’ full names, address, and contact numbers. If possible, get information on their insurance policies.
File A Report With The DMV
Depending on which state you live in, there are certain requirements for filing an accident report with the Department of Motor Vehicles. There are specific rules on who must file the report, and by when to file it. If you fail to comply, there could be a stiff penalty.
You will be responsible for knowing what the DMV requirements are and fulfilling them in a timely manner. It would be a good idea to check your state’s DMV reporting requirements with your insurance company beforehand. You could also contact the state insurance commissioner’s office for advice.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Call your auto insurance provider as soon as you are able. Keep in mind that some insurance policies might specify by when you must inform your insurer of the accident. It would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with your policy beforehand.
Your insurance company will be able to advise you on the next steps to take in claiming your insurance. Should you need assistance in having your car transported, some insurance policies have coverage for towing services. Considering coverage like this when you’re looking for auto insurance can be worthwhile.
Get in touch with Panorama to get quotes and advice on coverage.