Car Insurance: What to do at the scene of a car accident
Step 1: Stop the car! (as soon as it’s safe)
Car insurance can help protect you financially. At the scene of a car accident, you might not have a choice about stopping but if you do always stop! Regardless of the severity of a car accident your car insurance will require information and it’s the law. Stop as close as possible without obstructing traffic. If you don’t stop you can be charged with a crime, leaving the scene of an accident.
Hit and run car accidents
Who Hits and Runs?
- Drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Drivers with no license
- Drivers without car insurance
- Drivers without proper insurance
What if You See a Hit and Run?
- Be a good citizen but insure your safety at all times
- Help anyone who is injured
- Get the license plate number and report it to the police
- Use your cell phone camera to take a picture or video of the car leaving the scene
If You Damage Property and the owner is not present
- Stop and try to locate the owner
- Wait if you believe the owner might return
- Call the police and report the accident.
- Leave a note on the windshield of the damaged car with
- your name
- your address
- your phone number
- the name of your insurance company and your policy number
- Report the accident to your car insurance company.
What if you are the victim of a hit and run?
Your insurance agent will you talk to you about uninsured motorists property damage (UMPD) insurance. Your insurance policy might have a deductible on your property damage uninsured motorists coverage. A deductible means that you pay part of the repair cost before your car insurance kicks in. If you have uninsured motorists coverage, contact your car insurance company and speak with your car insurance agent. He/She will be able to provide directions for getting your vehicle fixed.
Step 2: Never leave the scene of a car accident early.
Penalties for a hit and run vary from state to state but will be greater if someone is hurt. It can be a felony to leave the scene of a car accident if someone is killed. If someone hits your car and does not stop proper car insurance can protect you financially.
Step 3: In case of injury call 911.
If you or someone else is injured dial 911. Follow the instructions provided by the 911 operator.
Step 4: Call the police.
A police office can protect the accident scene, investigate and document the cause of the accident. If needed the police officer will prepare a police report of the accident. Your insurance company will use this document in your claim. It is a good idea and will help your car insurance agency if you get the officer’s name, badge number, organization. Your car insurance agency would also find it helpful to have the report number if available.
You should always call the police but they believe the accident to be minor they may tell you to exchange information. Your car insurance agent will want you to collect the following: name, address, telephone number, name of car insurance agency, car insurance policy number, car insurance agent name and phone number whom you should contact, license plate number, and state insurance was purchased.
Make sure to verify the accuracy of this information by looking at the documents such as driver’s license. If the other drive does not have car insurance they may provide false information.
If you call the police and they verify they are sending an officer to the scene make sure to wait. This could take an hour or more if the accident is minor and higher priority issues occur.
Step 5: Create your own accident history.
Your car insurance agent will greatly appreciate details about the accident. Gather and write down information about:
- the vehicles involved in the accident (plate numbers, make and model)
- the drivers involved (full name and contact info, driver’s license number, insurance carrier and policy number)
- the collision (details as to how it happened)
- vehicle damage
- witnesses (names and contact information)
- the accident scene and conditions
- your injuries
- police information (names and badge numbers of responding officers)
- ambulance information
- towing information
Your memory will fade before the car insurance claim is complete. You should write the information down and draw a diagram of the accident. Pictures are a great way to record the scene:
- Vehicles, before they are moved, to show their positions
- Damage of ALL vehicles
- Skid marks
- Debris on the road
- Any and all conditions that contributed to the accident
- License plates of ALL vehicles and witnesses
To protect you and avoid your car insurance claim becoming “he said, she said” gather all witness information, including names and phone numbers.
Step 6: Let your car insurance company settle the claim.
You should never make any kind of agreement at the scene of a car accident.
Vehicle could have damage that isn’t obvious
Endorphins mask pain so you may be hurt but not know it yet
It’s risky, if time has passed, his car insurance company might try to avoid paying
Step 7: Do not admit fault
You may not fully understand all of the aspects that contributed to the accident. Your statements could even be misunderstood. Even I’m sorry could be seen as fault when you just felt bad in general that the accident occurred. Car insurance companies can use these statements to determine payouts so it’s important to just stick to facts.