Accidents are accidents because they are not intentional and are not expected. However, according to research, drivers can expect to be in a crash that is claimed worthy at least once every year.
Before you get into your next fender bender, be confident you have an understanding of what you should tell your insurance company and when you should resist the urge to place an insurance claim and pay yourself.
When a crash takes place, there are a host of things to do and consider. For example, after a car accident, if you can, it’s best to move your car safely off the road or to the side, put on flashers, observe for injuries, call on medical assistance as required and call the police.
There are just a few of the things to consider. Below are a few more things to consider before you report your car accident.
It depends not just on the circumstances and facts of the specific accident but also on the state in which you reside. Lots of states need you to report any accident that has to do with an injury. It is the case even for accidents that have to do with only damage to your vehicle.
Some states still need drivers to report the car accident if the damage is over a specific amount which usually falls between $1,000 to $2,500.
At the scene of the accident, one of the crucial things to do is to trade contact information with the other driver involved and get the other driver’s insurance information. All states need drivers to exchange this sort of information if they have been part of an accident.
If the driver refuses to cooperate, if you suspect the other driver has no insurance, you should ask law enforcement to get involved at the accident scene to get this information. Dependent on where the accident takes place, the law enforcement agency may be a county sheriff, municipal police, or highway patrol.
Even if the driver corporates, you both may have a dispute of good faith about the reason for the car accident.
In this situation, it is a great idea to ask for the help of law enforcement. It will allow the investigating officer to record interviews with witnesses and drivers and let the officer put down the circumstances of any physical evidence at the location, like debris or skid marks.
Another reason to reach out to the police during the accident is that of possible injuries. At the scene of the accident or soon after, you may believe you had no injuries. But, a lot of injuries do not become evident until days or weeks after the accident.
Suppose you don’t reach out to law enforcement to report the car accident immediately and find out later that you had an injury. In that case, the other driver may imply that the auto accident never occurred.
Without an investigation of the accident by law enforcement, it is your word against that of the other driver.
The Accident Scene
Report an auto accident when something does not seem right at the other scene; if the driver is acting oddly or seems impaired or if there is any sign that the driver has broken the law.
The Insurance Contract
Make sure you consider your insurance contract. It usually states that you have to report any car accident to them within a specific time frame. Some contracts come with a dollar amount more than what the report requires.
Failing to do this can lead to a claim denial from an insurance company based on contract violation. Ensure you understand the rules of your specific contract.
The insurance of the other Driver
Does the driver have plans to report the car accident? If this is the case, you need to report it as their insurance company will reach out to you. However, please don’t assume the other driver would choose not to report because they say they have no plans; Injury signs can delay, or the damage may be more than they initially believed at first.
Was The Damage only to Your Property?
In a single-vehicle accident where only your property and vehicle were damaged, you can choose between reporting the accident without the worry of lawsuits in the future. However, when it has to do with damage to just your property, you can easily decide to sort out the cost yourself.
Did any public property get damaged?
Even if it is a single-vehicle accident involving just you, you need to report any accident that causes damage to public property.
The damage that is less than the deductible or over it is not worth claiming especially if there isn’t any liability to consider, and you will see a rate increment as a result.
Paying for damages that are not serious on your own is a much cheaper option.
Do You Have Accident Forgiveness?
This benefit, which can include in lots of car insurance policies, lets you have one at-fault accident without an increase in rate as a result.
Having this benefit can ensure filing a claim is not as painful as the future increases of insurance rates.
Was It a Hit and Run?
If a hit and run resulted in your car damage, you would be required to make a police report. Without the report, any claim you later make may deny, especially if the damage turns out to be worse than you believed.