Accidents happen. It’s just a fact of life. Truth be told, automobile accidents are almost never convenient. We live in a time when we rely heavily on our cars to get us where we need to go on time each day, so being in an automobile accident will certainly cause us to be late to where we were going or possibly not arrive at all. It goes without saying; we sincerely hope no one is ever seriously injured if they are in an automobile accident. But, we also know automobile accidents will occur. According to the National Safety Council’s 2009 report, approximately 27,000 accidents occur every day.
Since we know that when an automobile accident occurs, you will have enough to worry about in that moment, we wanted to give you a list of four simple things you should do in the event you are in an accident.
1. Call the Police
Whether you are the one at fault or the one whose car was hit, you need to call the police in the event you are in an automobile accident. Even if nobody on the scene needs emergency medical attention, you still need to call the police. If the other driver insists you do not need to call and involve the police, having the police arrive and write up an official police report will ultimately protect you- whether you caused the accident or not. Having official documentation that the accident occurred, when it occurred, who was at fault, if any injuries occurred, as well as the drivers’ insurance information will be helpful during the days following the accident. It will also protect you in the unfortunate event the story about what happened changes in the days to follow. It is against the law in Arizona to drive without automobile insurance, so having a police report will help you have proper documentation against underinsured or uninsured motorists.
2. Exchange Information With Other Driver
Although the police report will contain important information for you to reference after your automobile accident, you should also exchange information with the other driver. Assuming neither of you are seriously injured and needing medical care, you should exchange personal information with one another, including names and phone numbers. You will also need to exchange insurance information, including insurance company name and policy number. Having this information will help you have the data you need as you work with your insurance agent in the days after the accident. While you are collecting contact information, you will also want to get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident in the event they need to give a statement later about what they witnessed.
3. Take Pictures of the Damage
Not only are our cell phones convenient to quickly call for help in the event we are in an automobile accident, but the camera comes in handy, too. It is always a good idea to take photos of the accident scene to have proof if you should need it later. You will want to take photos of the damage to your car as well as the damage to the other driver’s vehicle. Having pictures of the damage will be further proof of what damage was done in the accident in the event you need it.
4. Contact Your Insurance Agent
Once you get home from the accident, you will have one more important step to take. You need to contact your insurance agent and discuss whether you need to file a claim immediately with your insurance carrier or the other driver’s carrier. Your insurance agent will ask you for the information contained on the police report, such as when and where the accident occurred, the other driver’s contact information, and their insurance policy details. Your insurance agent will help you take the steps to file a claim and will also be a resource of information for you in the days following your automobile accident. They will be able to answer questions you may have and direct you on your next steps, from a list of recommended body shops you should contact for any needed repairs, to if you’re eligible to receive a rental car while your car is in the body shop.
Each automobile policy is written differently to include- and exclude- various types of coverage, so please contact your insurance agent with any question you may have about what is included in your automobile policy. We hope you are never in an automobile accident and more importantly that you are not seriously injured. But if you are in an accident, your independent insurance agents at TAG Insurance and Financial Services are here to help simplify the process for you.
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