So you’ve been in a car accident … It happens to the best of us. Statistically it happens to more than just the best of us – from fender benders to pile-ups, it happens to most of us. But what are you supposed to do in the event of a wreck? Here’s a how to on what to do if you get into a car accident, replete with an easy to read, easy to use Wreck Check courtesy of InsureU. Print a couple of copies out – you never know when you might need it.
When it’s not just a little fender bender…
- Keep calm! That’s the number one piece of advice in any emergency, car related or otherwise. Panic leads to forgetfulness and might cause conflict with the other parties involved. Even more importantly, affects your body in a number of physical ways: panic can cause shortness of breath, stomach problems, even hives. Your car’s already not in the best shape – do what you can to protect your state of mind!
- Remain safe. Stay out of traffic’s way in whichever ways you can. If it’s not possible to move your car out of the road, make sure that all people and animals are out of the road. Except if…
- Anyone is seriously physically injured. In that event, moving them might cause more harm than good – especially if there’s a risk of any spine or head injuries. This goes for animals as well as people!
- Call 911. Here’s where the InsureU checklist is going to come in handy. Everything you need to take down is right there.
- Don’t apologize for your driving. It might get you in serious legal trouble or have ramifications on your insurance.
- Don’t say you won’t report it. Sometimes it’s hard to know the extent of your injuries or even damages right at the scene. You might risk losing valuable aid.
- Have a smartphone? Use it! Take photos, videos, notes. Document the scene the best you can.
- Exchange information with the other driver(s).
- Be CERTAIN to tell your insurance!
What if it wasn’t that big of a deal?
It’s hard to know if something “wasn’t that big of a deal” in the moment. Here are the only ways you can assess if something truly can be brushed off and under the rug – in other words – here’s how you know whether or not you should call the cops:
- There are NO injuries. It is REQUIRED by LAW that if there are any injures the cops MUST be called
- Property damage is minor
- The other drive accepts blame AND has insurance
- Essential contact information INCLUDING insurance info is exchanged IN WRITING
- Insurance companies of ALL involved parties let you off the hook – call them!
- Everyone has a claim number from their insurance company
Here’s a handy chart to clarify what “minor property damage” means across state lines – it means something different for every state.
But I don’t want my insurance to know…
Here’s what you do:
- Any agreements made should be made in writing
- Get the other driver’s insurance information….you never know
- Get a signed receipt for any money exchanged
I crashed into a pole in the parking lot… do I tell my insurance then?
If the damage isn’t serious, no. There’s no easy way to tell if the cost of damage will outweigh your premiums, though.