What to do after a car accident

What to do after a car accident

August 24, 2016
car accident
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A car accident can happen to anyone. Sometimes it just can’t be helped. That’s why it’s a good idea to be prepared and know what to do after you meet with one such unfortunate event.

I was involved in a car accident a few years back. It wasn’t anything too serious. I was OK, but the front right side of the car was hit pretty bad. After the initial scare, when things started to cool down, I began thinking what to do next. And, to my surprise, I didn’t know what to do.

Most of us go through life thinking that bad things can’t happen to us. Those of us who believe themselves to be exceptional drivers are especially confident that they will never be involved in a car accident. I was one such individual. But only until that old lady, who was looking to get to a parking space as soon as possible, hit me just as I was leaving my parking space.

At that time, I didn’t know what to do. That’s why I started looking into the subject. If you want to be prepared just in case you’re involved in an accident, then here’s what you need to know:

1. Call 911

After you make sure everyone is OK, get your phone and call 911. Call for the police and, if there is a injury, also make sure to ask for medical assistance. Even if the injury isn’t life-threatening.

Don’t forget to get a police report, no matter what. It can provide a lot of help if you need to resolve your auto insurance claim, and it can also protect you from insurance fraud.

2. Write everything down

People tend to forget things, especially after an accident. That’s why it’s important that you write down any piece of information that you get. Not just names, license numbers or the time of day, but also what the other person involved in the accident might say. Something like “I’m not hurt” or “I shouldn’t have cut you off” could also prove useful in case you have to go to court.

3. Take photos

Nowadays, everyone has a phone with a camera. So take pictures of everything, from the scene of the accident, to road conditions, the damaged cars or those involved.

4. File an auto insurance claim

Finally, you have to fill out an auto insurance claim. Start by notifying your insurance provider about the accident, either online or over the phone. As soon as you report the claim, you will be assigned an auto insurance claims representative who will help you.

When you contact your company to file a claim, make sure to provide the following details:

  • Your full name and policy number.
  • The start and end date of your policy.
  • Date and time of the incident.
  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
  • Driver’s license and license plate numbers for all drivers.
  • An appraiser will inspect your vehicle and write down an estimate of damages. The insurance company can also conduct an investigation, if another vehicle was involved in the accident. This is where the police report comes in. It will help your insurer determine what really happened.

When you reach this point, your job is done. All you need to do next is wait for your insurance company to send you the money.


Thomas Hookton is a finance journalist, history buff and science fiction connoisseur. Hit him up via email.

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