You’re going the speed limit on a side street in Oakdale when, out of nowhere, a car rolls around the corner, and the two of you collide, causing major damage. What do you do?
This guide will outline what to do right away after an accident and how to carry out the claims process.
3 Steps to Take Immediately After a Car Accident
Step 1: Phone for help.
Start by making sure everyone is safe. If you need medical help, call for an ambulance right away. In any case, call the police as well.
Step 2: Exchange information.
Speak with the other driver, and exchange your full names, contact information, and insurance information. Be sure to get their insurance agency name and their insurance policy number. Take down a description of their car, their license plate number, and their driver’s license number as well. Keep this information on-hand for your insurance company as you begin the claims process.
Step 3: Gather evidence from the scene.
Take photographs of the accident scene, including close-ups of your vehicle damage and any injuries sustained. Speak with any eyewitnesses who saw the accident happen. Get their full names and contact information.
Also, speak with the responding police officer. You have a right to a copy of the police report, and you should get this at the scene of the accident instead of waiting to procure it later on. Also, ask for the police officer’s first and last name and badge number in case you need to contact them. Again, keep all of this information in a safe place as you may require it later on, and your insurance company may ask for it.
The Claims Process
At the scene of the accident, call your insurance agency. You’ll likely be assigned a claims adjuster who can get the ball rolling on your claim. As you work with them, you’ll likely need to fill out some paperwork, and you may need to go into the insurance office in-person to work out details.
At some point, make sure you review your policy so that you know your deductible and limits. Ask your claims adjuster if you have rental car insurance right away as well. This may seem like an expensive extra that you won’t have, but it’s really quite reasonably priced, and it’s standard with many of the best auto insurance policies. If you have rental insurance coverage, your claims adjuster can help you arrange for a rental car to use while your car is being repaired.
Once the immediate aftermath of the accident is over and you can go your own way, you’ll want to find out where you should take your car for an estimate. Your claims adjuster may suggest a garage, or you can choose your own. The main thing you need to do is to get your estimate approved. Before you go ahead with repairs, your agency needs to approve the estimate, or you likely won’t be reimbursed, which can be a catastrophe.
If the damage is especially bad, your car may be totaled and require replacement. Your insurance agency will evaluate this for themselves and let you know what they decide.
Review Your Auto Insurance Plan Today
The only way to know for sure that you’re fully covered and protected in the event of an auto accident — major or minor — is to have a quality insurance plan.
Oakdale area residents who want to ensure a smooth claims process should look to Andreotti Agency for a comprehensive plan that covers everything they need. Stop in today, or give us a call to review your current auto insurance plan or find a new one.