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What to Do After a Car Accident? Five Tips to Keep in Mind

Car crash scene

What Happens After You’ve Been Involved in an Auto Collision

You’ve just been involved in an auto accident. Your heart’s pumping, adrenaline is flowing through your veins, and knowing which action you should take is vastly important. 

Here, we’ll quickly walk you through five essential tips about what to do after an accident. Commit them to memory, and they could make the entire process easier. 

1. Pull Over & Protect the Scene

Don’t drive away, but if your car is drivable and no one is injured, the first thing you should do is move your vehicle to the side of the road, or an otherwise safe area out of the path of traffic. Once there (or otherwise, if it’s not drivable), put your transmission into park, pull the emergency brake, turn off the engine, and turn on your hazard lights.  

After checking to make sure it’s safe to exit your vehicle, grab cones, flares, or another appropriate lighting source (a great idea to pack in your trunk for emergencies!) if you have them.

2. Get Help

Once you’ve made sure that everyone in your vehicle is safe and sound, check anyone else involved. Don’t forget about pedestrians who may have been injured as bystanders. 

If you or anyone else is experiencing any pain, discomfort, or symptoms of other injuries, make sure to call an ambulance. It’s also always a good idea to obtain a police report, which can help make the claims process smoother (more soon) and repair your vehicle faster. 

It’s your duty to provide all relevant accident details to the authorities, but you should never guess, speculate, or assign fault, whether about yourself or anyone else. This is the claims adjuster’s job, which they’ll accomplish by objectively examining the facts surrounding your specific accident. If you do not know the answer to an officer’s question, it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “I don’t know.”  

Pro Tip: If the accident’s minor and no one is injured, you can often save everyone time (including community resources) by filing your accident report through your state’s DMV website. Here’s a list provided by Experian.

3. Gather the Necessary Details

Once you’ve made sure everyone’s safe and the authorities are on their way, it’s time to gather all the details you’ll need to file your insurance claim. 

Start with all of the other parties involved in the accident, including names, contact information, driver’s license details of drivers and passengers, and insurance companies and policy numbers. If there are any eyewitnesses, make sure you get their name and contact information as well. 

When it comes to vehicles, write down make, model, year, and license plate number. Nowadays, most of us have cameras built into our smartphones, which you can use to take pictures of any visible damage to you and/or your vehicle. Please don’t interfere with any ongoing investigations at the scene, but you’ll want to take pictures as soon as it’s safe to do so. 

Speaking of which, you’ll also want to write down each police officers’ name and badge number, along with the scene location and address. Make sure they give you a report number, which you can provide to your claims adjuster. 

Pro Tip: Unless it’s for the police report, do not sign any documents from third parties at the scene of the accident.

4. File a Claim

If you’re not injured or tending to someone who is, and it’s also safe, you can often report your initial claim at the scene of your accident by calling your insurance carrier. Some companies even allow you to file claims directly through their app, which automatically assigns you to an adjuster. 

It’s perfectly reasonable that you might not be clear-headed from the adrenaline rush, and need to wait to file your claim later when things have calmed down. Just don’t wait too long, as the faster you file your claim, the quicker you can get past this little speedbump in life. 

If possible, you’ll want to notify your IHS Insurance Group agent, who can help answer any questions.

5. Repair Your Vehicle (& Yourself)

After filing your claim, your adjuster will walk you through the details of getting your vehicle repaired, including the facility who will handle it, and how to get your car there if it’s not driveable. 

Even if you don’t have immediately apparent injuries, keep in mind that they can sometimes manifest days (or even weeks) following the accident. 

If you have Med Pay coverage on your policy, it could cover some of you and your passengers’ medical treatments related to injuries caused by the accident.  

Related: How Much Automobile Insurance Do I Need? 

Bonus: Maintain Your Records 

Your insurance company will want proof of medical and repair services related to your claim. Make sure that you maintain proper records and keep all your bills and related paperwork together in one place. Especially important details include your claims adjuster’s name and contact details, rental car receipts, doctor’s visits, and any additional living expenses incurred as a result of the accident. 

How Can You Make Sure You Have Enough Auto Insurance After a Car Accident? 

Whether it’s uninsured motorist coverage, adequate comprehensive and collision deductibles, or added endorsements like GAP and rental reimbursement, the team at IHS Insurance Group is here to ensure you have what you need after an auto accident. 

Need a FREE Quote? Or do you have questions about what you should do after a car accident? We have three convenient ways to reach us: 

  1. If you prefer to talk to a licensed agent directly, please call (866) 480 5063.    
  2. If you prefer to fill out a quick form and have an agent get back with you at your convenience, use the GET A FREE QUOTE.    
  3. Lastly, for those that want an immediate quote, please click HERE. 

We look forward to speaking with you today!

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