Each year, more than one in ten people are involved in a car wreck in the U.S. If you haven’t already, it is likely that you will have to suffer through at least one accident in your lifetime. If and when this happens, follow these steps to ensure that you are in the best place possible to deal with it.
The very first step to take when there is a car accident is to make sure neither you nor your passengers are injured. Also make sure that nobody in the other car is hurt at all. If there are any injuries or if there is property damage that is causing safety concerns, call 911 right away and then stay put, with your seatbelt fastened, until help gets there.
After you have made sure that everyone is safe, think about the scene. Turn on your emergency lights and move your car to the shoulder of the road or at least out of immediate oncoming traffic. Place any safety cones or flares you might keep in your car in the road to make sure other people can see you.
The next thing to do is to exchange all of this information: name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number. Next, gather insurance information including the insurance policy number and phone number. Finally, make notes about the year, make and model of the car as well as other information about the scene including the location, time of day, weather and traffic conditions. Lastly, be cordial to the other driver, but don’t ever admit fault, even if you think you are at fault, wait for the police to assess the situation.
Use your camera to document the damage to all the vehicles. Keep in mind that you want your photos to show the overall context of the accident so that you can make your case to a claims adjuster. If there were witnesses, try to get their contact information; they may be able to help you if the other drivers dispute your version of what happened.
File a Police Report
It is possible that the police won’t come to the scene of your accident if it is not major. This should not deter you from filling a police report about the accident anyways. Either go to the police station or look online for the right forms. A police report is necessary to file to get the insurance process started, so do this as quickly as possible so that you don’t delay your insurance claim.
Talk to Your Auto Insurance Agent
The last thing to deal with in a car accident is finances; who will pay for the damage. Usually it will be either you, your insurance company or the other driver. Call your insurance agent as soon as you can after the accident – even from the scene of the wreck if possible, this way they can have early and accurate information about what happened and how much damage was caused. This will save you time later on while you are waiting for your insurance claim to be processed so that your damage can be repaired.
When you are in a minor accident without major car damages, it may be tempting to try and pay for the damages yourself, without involving the insurance company. The problem with this idea is that it could end up costing you in the long run. The other person might change their story or have extra high repair bills that you could end up on the hook for legally if you don’t notify your insurance company immediately and file a claim.
The longer away from an accident you get, the harder it is to prove what happened and the more difficulty you will have processing a claim with your insurance provider. Get in touch with your Texas auto insurance agent as soon as possible. Being proactive in an accident can keep your Texas car insurance rate from skyrocketing and keep you from missing any critical information that could be critical later.