Imagine this: It’s a busy Monday morning, and you’re in a mad rush. Corralling the kids in the car as you make sure you have your briefcase for work, you hop in and pull hurriedly out of your driveway. But as you back out onto the street … Smash! You back right into a neighbor’s car that had pulled out at the same time.
Fender benders like these happen more than you know. And it’s also common for drivers to be completely unaware of the correct steps to follow when it comes to insurance.
So in a situation like this, what is covered by insurance? And how do insurance claims work?
Below, we’ll outline the initial immediate steps you should take after any car accident and what you should do to make sure your insurance claim is filed correctly.
Immediate Steps After a Car Accident
- Stay safe.
Start by assessing yourself and your location. Put your car into a safe place off the road and out of traffic’s way if possible. If you can’t move, put the car in park, turn everything off, and put on your hazards.
- Call for help.
If anyone was injured, contact emergency medical services as soon as possible. You’ll also need to call the police even if it’s a minor accident.
- Gather as much evidence and information as possible.
- Information from the other driver, including name, contact info., and insurance info.
- Names and contact info for all drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- Driver’s license numbers of all drivers
- The location and address of the accident scene
- Descriptions and license plate numbers of all vehicles involved
- The police report and officer name and badge number
- Photos of the scene
- Call your insurance company.
Explain what happened. An agent will help you begin the process of filing a claim.
Further Steps, Including How to Manage an Insurance Claim
- Get a rental vehicle, if possible.
Many auto insurance policies include rental car coverage. This is often provided through the mechanic, and in this case, your insurance company will be billed directly. Otherwise, you’ll be reimbursed by your insurance company after paying for the rental.
- Get an estimate on the repairs.
Getting a repairs estimate will depend on several factors. First, it’s possible to get an auto-approved estimate from pre-approved auto body shops. In some situations, insurance companies will create estimates of their own, and you must find a body shop who will do the work for that amount. Otherwise, you can shop around for estimates.
- Decide between repairs or replacement.
In serious accident situations, you may need to decide between repairing or replacing your vehicle. Generally, you’ll replace the vehicle if it’s lost more than about 70% of its value.
- Have the repairs approved.
If you decide to go with repairing your car, you’ll need to decide on the estimate route you want to go with, then have your estimate approved before going forward with the repairs and waiting for your fixed car.
- Check your optional coverage
It’s possible you have additional coverage that may help you replace a recently-purchased, brand-new car with another brand-new car. You might also have coverage that pays for the difference between the actual value of your car and what you still owe on financing (GAP coverage).
When You Have Great Coverage, There’s Nothing to Worry About
Recovering mentally from a car accident doesn’t have to be difficult. And filing a claim for physical car damage doesn’t have to be complicated and time-consuming either.
What it comes down to is having the right auto insurance coverage.
When you have a great policy and work with a reputable insurance agent at Luxor Insurance, even car accidents don’t have to be drawn-out and exhausting affairs.