There are over 6 million auto accidents reported each year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While you can't predict if and/or you'll be involved in one, you should always be prepared for a worst-case scenario.Compare free auto insurance quotes →
First, stop your vehicle. State laws require persons involved in an accident to stop and exchange information. Call 911 for police and/or medical assistance. Even if an accident seems minor, assistance may be needed to clear the accident scene, handle traffic, and file an accident report. You may also have stress injuries that come on after the shock wears off.
Once the officer and/or medical personnel have finished, try and collect information about the accident. You may be able to get a copy of the report filled out by the police officer.
This information should include time and place of accident, weather and road conditions, and other circumstances of the accident; as well as names, addresses, telephone numbers, driver's license number and insurance information of those involved, including contact information for any passengers and/or witnesses. You also want to note vehicle information for all cars involved including make, model, year, color and license plate number. Also get the department and badge numbers of the responding police officer.
Call your car insurance company and/or agent as soon as possible. The quicker you report a claim, the quicker the process can get started. Think about it: How many of us can be without our cars for a just a week, not to mention longer? You want to get the insurance process going and repairs done as quickly as possible. Also, the insurer may deny payment of your claim if you do not report the accident within a reasonable period. Make sure you read your policy for more details on such a time period.
Make sure your insurance company agrees to pay your claim before you start getting any repairs. They may need to send out an adjuster before approving your claim. You can choose which repair shop to go to unless otherwise stated in your insurance policy. Some insurance companies require you go to repair shops approved by them, and may in turn offer you a discount to do so. Check all repairs after they are completed, and keep all receipts associated with the repairs, including an itemized list of exactly what was repaired.
If you are involved in an accident and your auto insurance rates drastically increase, it may be a good time to search for a different auto insurance company. You can use InsWeb's online quote form to easily compare auto insurance quotes for free.Request a free car insurance comparison →