No matter how careful of a driver you are, accidents are not always preventable. While emotions may run high after the initial incident, it’s important to stay calm and focus on the task at hand. From gathering the necessary documentation to calling the police, follow these tips to protect yourself.
Take a deep breathe
Before you begin assessing any damage, your first step is to check for injuries, and if necessary seek medical attention. If your vehicle is safe to drive, pull to the side of the road out of the line of traffic, to prevent any further accidents, and turn on hazard lights to warn other vehicles of the crash.
Call the police
Whether in a fender bender or major collision, it’s always a smart idea to call the police. In some states it is required by law, while in others officers may decline to respond; either way you should file an official police report of the accident for yourself and your insurance company as an official record of the accident.
Exchange and document information
The more information the better. Take pictures of the accident, talk to eye-witnesses, exchange IDs and insurance, but do not admit fault for anything that happened at the scene as to avoid admitting legal liability.
If you are unsure of what information to collect it’s best to call your insurance company at the scene to make sure you have covered all or your bases, many companies even have apps that will give you exact directions. In general you will need:
- Location and date/time of the accident
- Name and contact information for all parties involved, including driver’s license information, current address and phone number
- Model, type, color, and license plate number of all vehicles involved
- Insurance company information and policy numbers for both parties
Call your insurance company
If you didn’t call your insurance company at the scene, you should do so immediately when you get home. Even if you think you may be at fault and can save a few bucks by paying for the damages out of pocket; contact your insurance company because many times the expenses are greater than you think. Luckily, most insurance companies offer assistance or accident forgiveness programs, which will keep some money in your pocket.
Unfortunately some accidents result in major damages that leave you without a vehicle. TruStone Financial can help you find the best option for you to get you back out on the road before you know it. You don’t even have to deal with the added stress of visiting a dealership, stay in the comfort of your own home with our AutoSmart site and once you’ve found a suitable vehicle, stop by your nearest branch to learn about what lending options we have to help you save.
Car accidents are no doubt stressful situations as they can raise many questions and emotions all at once. However, by following these steps you will alleviate added stress post-accident.
Editor’s Note: Segments in the article were taken from injury.findlaw.com, allstate.com and nerdwallet.com.