Car accidents are often avoidable. However, mistakes happen every day, and crashes are a common occurrence. Whether you have hit a deer or run into someone else in a parking lot, one of your first concerns will focus on paying for vehicle repairs or replacements. If you have car insurance, these costs are often covered. However, in order to obtain the compensation you need, you must follow certain steps after the accident.
1. Get safe and call for help.
Before making any calls related to your insurance coverage, your most important concern should be safety. Move your vehicles out of the path of traffic and make sure all drivers and passengers are okay. If anyone is injured, call for help immediately. If you aren’t sure whether help is necessary, call for an ambulance just to be safe.
2. Call the police and make a report.
Regardless of who is at fault for the accident, call the police and ask for an officer to come to the scene. The police report completed at this time will be invaluable as you complete the claims process.
- Collect information from others involved.
Collect as much relevant information about the accident and the scene as possible. Take pictures of the vehicles and the accident scene if possible. Write down license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers and vehicle descriptions. Be sure to ask other drivers and passengers for their contact information as well. Don’t sign any documents at the accident scene unless instructed to do so by the police or your insurance agent.
3. Call your insurance agent.
Call your insurance agent and report the accident. Ask your agent what steps you should take next. If your insurance policy includes rental coverage, your agent may be able to help you obtain a rental vehicle at this time.
4. Obtain an estimate from a reputable repair shop.
Obtain an estimate from a reputable auto body or collision repair shop in your area. If you are not familiar with any, feel free to call our agency and we can make a few suggestions. Be sure to ask whether your insurance company works with any preferred body shops, as this may help you expedite the claims process. If your insurance company doesn’t work with any specific body shops, or if you choose an estimate from a different establishment, bring the estimate to us and we will send it to the adjustor.
5. Find out whether your vehicle will be repaired.
After you submit your estimate to the insurance company, they will review the estimate and compare it to the current value of your vehicle. If the estimate is more than a certain percentage of your vehicle’s value, they may choose to total the vehicle instead of authorizing repairs. In this case, you will receive a check for the value of the vehicle reduced by any deductible you may owe.
The insurance claims process can be confusing and overwhelming. However, if you have a reputable insurance agent, you can be sure that this process will be as simple as possible. Please contact Stauffer-Klug Insurance today to learn more or to discuss your insurance needs.