Last year there were more than 1 million car accidents in the United States alone, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Some people may immediately call their car insurance companies as soon as an accident happens. Other drivers will wait and assess the damage first. In either case, there are efforts all drivers can take to better deal with the situation.
“These tips can make a big difference in everything from protecting yourself and your passengers to ensuring that you won’t be without a car while yours is in the shop,” Dr. Ray Bruce, president of the Consumer Protection Association of America told the site.
Drivers should always have an emergency kit in their car. This kit should contain a cell phone, pen and paper and a camera. This way the driver can document any damage that may have incurred from a collision.
It is important to keep a card listing medical allergies, or conditions, in the event of serious injuries. A flashlight and safety cones can also come in handy if the accident takes place at night.
Cars should immediately be moved to the side of the road after an accident, as long as no one is injured and the vehicles are operational. This may prevent additional accidents from occurring.
Take down information
It is also important to take down the other driver’s information. Include the make, model, color and year of their vehicle. Get their insurance information, and if their name is different than the insured, find out the relationship between the two, the news outlet reports. If there were witnesses, it is important to try and get their contact information in the event there is a dispute over the facts of the accident.
Highway patrol or police should immediately be notified, especially in the case of an injury, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Anyone that is hurt should be covered with a blanket to keep them warm.
In the event that authorities are not called to the scene, it is still a good idea to file a state vehicle accident report, the III says. These reports are available at police stations and many Department of Motor Vehicles websites have downloadable forms. These forms can help speed up insurance claims.
Insurance details to consider
Understanding what type of insurance policy a driver has is an important tool in expediting the post-accident process. If the person responsible for the accident has liability coverage, then any damage to the other vehicle will be covered, up to the amount of the policy.
It is also important to know if towing and rental are covered under an insurance policy. These can both be very expensive to pay out of pocket and many auto insurance policies charge just a minimal fee to add them to a plan.