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No one likes to hear the crunch of metal and the breaking of glass, especially if those sounds are emanating from their own vehicle. But with the number of vehicles on the road today, it is likely you will probably be in that position. Hopefully you will be able to exchange information with the other driver and walk away. Even if it is just a fender bender, make sure you do everything you need to for making the claims process as painless as possible.
- Call 911. Even if no one is hurt, you’ll want to have the incident in an official record. Get a police report, too. Make sure you do not admit fault.
- Document EVERYTHING. Take pictures of the accident scene, damage to your vehicle and the other party’s vehicle, as well as any other property damage. Note the time of the accident as well as any weather factors. Keep a pen and pad or paper in your glove box.
- Move off the road if you can. After noting relative vehicle positions, at least move out of traffic. You don’t want to be the cause of another accident or exacerbate your own situation. If you have safety flares or reflective road triangles, use them.
- Get the other driver’s information. Driver’s license number, license plate number, insurance information, etc. Note if there were any passengers and get their names, too. Also be sure to note any witnesses to the accident. Use your cell phone to take a photo of the other driver’s license and the license plate of the other vehicle.
- Report the incident to your insurance company. Even if you don’t plan on filing a claim, it is important that they have your side of the story in case the other party does.
Take some time to talk with your insurance professional about other steps you can take after an accident to ease the loss. Of course, the best way is to carry enough auto insurance for whatever expenses may come up. While you are talking to your agent or broker, look at all your policies and be sure you are not caught short when you really need the coverage.