Getting in an auto accident can be scary. It’s also disorienting and confusing when it actually happens to you. Here are the steps to take immediately when you’re involved in an accident, no matter how minor or severe.
1. Call the Authorities
Don’t wait. Call the authorities right away. You’ll need an official record of the accident and even if you think you are okay, you should always be checked by a medical professional. You’re probably in shock and any injuries may not be obvious to you yet.
2. Exchange Insurance Info
The other party or parties in the accident should give you the information about their insurance company that you might need in the case of a claim. You should also give them your insurance info. Regardless of who is at fault, exchange the information.
3. Contact Your Insurance Company
Whether you just have liability insurance or comprehensive coverage, there are probably strict time requirements for how soon you have to be in touch about an accident. Let your insurance company know exactly what happened, in your own words. Later on you’ll send them a copy of the police report.
4. Don’t Accept the First Offer
It’s tempting to get this whole ordeal over with as soon as possible, but that’s what the insurance company is counting on. If the other party is at fault, the insurance company on their side will probably say it’s only partially their fault - at most! In many situations, they’ll offer you a lot less than you deserve because they know you want to move on with your life quickly. Don’t accept it.
5. Get an Independent Appraisal of Damage
The insurance company will often send out an auto value appraiser who works for them. They’ll write up a report. Don’t take this as the only option. Have an independent vehicle appraiser also have a look to make sure that you receive the full value due to you for the damage to your car.