Being involved in a vehicle accident can be very stressful and you may not think about what key information you will need when filing a claim. Here are some helpful tips that you can keep in your car to refer to.
- Stay safe! Access the situation for your immediate safety.
- Stay in your car if there is a risk of injury or if moving might put you at risk of further injury.
- Move to a safe location if your car is creating a safety hazard or obstructing traffic.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident!
- Determine if there are any injuries.
- Call 911 immediately to report the accident and get help to the scene, if needed.
- Follow any instructions the police give you.
- Request a tow through your insurance company, if possible.
- Note the name of the tow company and location to which your vehicle is towed.
At the Scene
- Be courteous and polite, but do not admit fault.
- Take the names and car insurance information of any drivers involved in the accident.
- Only ask for contact information if the other drivers do not provide insurance information.
Give out ONLY the following information:
- Your name
- Your vehicle’s make, model, year, color and VIN
- The name of your insurance company, as well as your:
- Agent’s name and phone
- Policy number
Do NOT allow your license or registration to be photographed. Also, do NOT provide your address or contact information to other drivers, passengers or witnesses.
Documenting the Accident
If you have a smart phone or camera, take photos to document the scene if it is safe to do so. Include pictures of:
- License plates of involved vehicles
- Damage to your vehicle
- Damage to other vehicles
- Damage to property other than vehicles
- Objects at the scene, including accident debris, skid marks, fallen branches, etc.
- Street signs or other landmarks to identify the accident location
- Any contributing factors to the accident, such as obscured traffic signs
If you have an accident report form, fill in as many details as possible at the scene. If not, write down:
- Time and date
- Weather and traffic conditions
- Description of the accident
- Description of injuries and damage
- Details of police or emergency involvement
After the Accident
- Call your insurance agent
- Follow instructions from your auto insurance agent
Following these tips will help you and your insurance agent navigate the post-accident paperwork as quickly and effectively as possible.