My friend Suzi got into an accident last week! Nothing too bad, she says just a “fender-bender”, no injuries. She announced it on Facebook and since she is Hartford’s Premier Social Media Diva, got all kinds of help…including some advice from me. That started me thinking about this….
You are a careful, considerate driver and then from out left field…WHAM! You get hit by another car. Do you know what to do?
We’ll make an assumption that although you have been shaken but not stirred (couldn’t resist-sorry), you and the other driver are ok.
*Call the police. **DO NOT LEAVE THE SCENE!**
When you have an insurance claim, you want to make sure you have documentation, whether you are at fault or not. A police report is an official document that can back you up! Find out from the responding officer when the report should be available and find out how you can get a copy.
Just about everyone now has a cell phone with a camera…so document the scene. Before any vehicles are moved, take pictures of the site and the damage to both cars. Please, be careful! You want to don’t cause another accident!
Exchange insurance information with the other driver. Everyone should have an insurance ID card in their vehicle. Get contact information from the other driver too.
If you think you were at fault DO NOT ADMIT IT. Why? Because when you purchase an auto policy, you agree that the insurance company will settle all claims on your behalf. By admitting fault, you might be voiding the policy (check with your agent to be sure). And although I am not an attorney, most likely an admission of fault is not something you want to do anyway.
If you were the driver that was hit, call the other person’s insurance company to begin the claims process. If you have additional questions about your claim, call the other company OR you can always ask your independent agent for assistance. The manner in which an agency helps you handle a claim is where your independent agent REALLY earns their commission (or not, in some cases)!
If you hit someone, then call your company and put in the claim. Even if the other person says they won’t file a claim, chances are they will.
An additional note:
Insurance fraud costs YOU hundreds of dollars of additional premium every year. Here are some additional tips to follow if you are involved in an auto accident.
Never tailgate. This will give you ample time to stop if the driver in front of you suddenly steps on the brakes.
If you’re involved in a collision, count how many passengers were in the other car. Get their names, phone numbers and driver’s license numbers.
Pay attention to how the passengers behave. Did they stand around and joke, but suddenly act “injured” when the police arrived?
Keep a camera with you. Take pictures of the other car, the damage it received and the passengers.
Call the police and get a police report, even for minor damage. A police report that says the accident caused only a few scratches will make it harder for crooks to claim serious injuries or major damage.
Call your state insurance fraud bureau if a stranger tries to steer you to an unknown body shop, doctor, chiropractor or lawyer. Give officials the names, addresses and phone numbers of these providers.
Keep careful records of your medical treatments. Compare those against the statements you receive to make sure the bill wasn’t padded or treatments fabricated.
Please talk your agent to find out what they recommend in the event of an auto incident.
Charlie Schein is an independent insurance agent based in Wethersfield, CT. If you have any coverage questions, please feel free to contact him anytime via email. Charlie@getinsurancect.com