Do you know what to do when you get into an auto accident?
How about a situation like this one: You’re driving down the highway at the speed limit when suddenly, a car veers in front of you to make an upcoming exit on the right. Though you try to slow down and let them pass, you’re forced to change lanes and end up smashing into another oncoming vehicle. You’re sent spinning, and the whole collision ends in you and the other two vehicles off the side of the road in a ditch.
At this point, you’re reeling. You’re angry and unfocused, and your head is spinning. Things aren’t looking good, to say the least!
So, do you know how to you wisely handle the situation?
Many drivers don’t. But we want to educate you on the proper way to deal with such a situation, so here are some tips for handling an auto accident and your subsequent insurance claim.
Immediate Steps After a Collision
Take care of yourself and your passengers first. Relocate your vehicle to a safe spot, turn off your engine, and click on your hazard lights. Go around your car checking for any potential injuries. Look for scrapes, bruises, scratches, broken bones, bleeding, or any other types of injuries. Make sure that everyone is responsive. If you have any doubt in your mind about that health or safety of yourself or another individual, call an ambulance as soon as possible.
Someone will need to call the police as well. This is a necessary step in any auto accident. You’ll want to give your insurance agency a call to explain what happened too. Tell your agent you’d like to start the claims process.
As a final — and extremely important step — gather evidence, including photos, names, and contact information. Write down as much as you can about the accident as this may be essential later on.
How to File an Insurance Claim
When it comes to filing a claim, you first need an estimate on what repairs are needed for your vehicle. Also keep in mind, however, that you might need to choose between replacement and repairs if your vehicle was severely damaged in the accident. This will be at the discretion of your insurance company, who will look at the overall depreciated value of your vehicle and compare this to the repair costs.
To get an estimate on your car, take it to the auto body shop of your choice (or a preferred auto body shop who works with your insurance agency). Get a written estimate and show it to your insurance company. An adjuster will take a look at it and decide whether getting the repairs or having your car replaced is a better decision.
If the choice is the latter, you’ll get a check and can start shopping around for a new vehicle. If your insurance company decides to pay for repairs, you can begin the process and wait for your car to be fixed. In the meantime, if you have rental insurance coverage, arrange for a rental car so you can continue to get around.
Make Sure You Have the Right Coverage to Begin With
When your insurance policy is a good one, insurance claims are simple and straightforward. Everything’s covered, and the process is smooth and easy. When your insurance policy isn’t so comprehensive, and your limits are restricted, the claims process can be a nightmare.
Make sure you’re adequately covered by contacting your insurance company at your earliest convenience to go over your policy. At Homewood Insurance, we are ready to discuss your coverage options with you any time. Stop by today or give us a call.