Imagine this driving scenario and see if you’d know what to do in the end.
It’s a rainy day, so you’re taking it slow as you drive to work in the morning. As you slow and stop at a four-way stop intersection, you check all ways, then pull out to make your left turn.
Then, from out of nowhere, a car pulls out at your left at the same time and T-bones your driver’s side. This sends your vehicle into a tailspin, and when you stop, there are three cars all askew in the intersection. Horns are blaring, the rain is coming down in sheets, and you think one of the other drivers may be hurt.
Any idea what to do next?
Safety Is Your First Concern
Get your car off the road to a safe location and turn on your hazard lights as soon as you can. You’ll also want to do a quick check of everyone in your car, including yourself. Ask these questions:
- Is everyone responsive?
- Is anyone cut, scraped, bruised, or bleeding?
- Are there more severe injuries?
Check other drivers and passengers as well.
Contact the Right People
There are three numbers you’ll need to call after an accident:
- Emergency Medical Services: if anyone is injured, call 911 right away. When in doubt, always make the call.
- The Police: In any auto accident, the police must be contacted so that they can create a police report. This will be useful for you down the line.
- Your Insurance Agency: Call and explain the accident. Give your name and policy number and tell your agent that you would like to start the claim filing process.
Cover Your Bases and Collect Information
Always make sure to take pictures of the accident scene and take notes on what happened. Ask the police officer for their name and contact information, and get the same from other drivers. You’ll need the other drivers’ insurance information as well.
Get an Estimate as Soon as Possible
Many drivers are confused by the insurance claims process.
Generally speaking, your next move is essentially to get an estimate on repairs. If possible, ask your insurance agent about any auto body shops in the area that they work exclusively with. It’s easiest to work with these auto body shops because their estimates will be a preapproved by your insurance company.
If this is not an option, some insurance agencies will offer their own estimates, or you can choose an auto body shop of your own. If you make this latter choice, however, remember that you’ll need to get these repair estimates approved by your insurance company before moving forward, and keep in mind that they may make adjustments.
If the auto body shop tells you that your vehicle has been totaled, you may end up getting a replacement vehicle through your insurance instead of getting a check for repairs. This will be up to your insurance company who will compare the current value of your vehicle against how much it would cost to repair it. If the repair costs are significant, they may deem your vehicle totaled and give you a check for the depreciated value of your vehicle last their deductible.
Having a strong policy and a good relationship with your insurance company will go a long way in making the claims process smooth and easy. In some cases, optional coverage can even replace a brand new car (less than 1-year-old) with another brand new car. These benefits all come from choosing the right insurance agency. Talk to Krog Insurance today about your options.