You’re pulling out of your parking spot after a long day at work in Springfield when CRUNCH! Out of nowhere, another vehicle appeared behind you, and you’ve both had a minor accident. What now!?
The Best Way to Handle Any Car Accident
Most people in these situations will be understandably upset, but it’s important to attempt to stay calm and focused as much as possible. Never admit that you were at fault for the accident. Be polite, but don’t assume that it was your fault even if you think it was.
Call the police to alert them of the accident. Move your car to a location that’s away from other traffic, and flip your hazards on to make other cars aware of your situation. When safe, check to make sure you’re not injured (and that no one else is). If need be, do not hesitate to contact emergency medical assistance.
Speak with the other driver, and ask them for their personal information (name, phone number, insurance company name and policy number, license number, etc.). Take photographs of the scene of the accident. Finally, contact your insurance company to start the claims process.
Steps to Filing an Auto Insurance Claim
- Get a rental car.
Ask your agent if your policy includes car rental insurance. You may be able to have a rental car paid for. If this is the case, ask your agent where you should go. Auto insurance agencies often have relationships with preferred rental shops. At these locations, you’ll likely be able to rent your car without paying; the bill will go directly to your insurance company.
- Get an estimate.
Your claims adjuster (who will be assigned to you) will let you know where to go for your repairs estimate. You can choose your own auto body shop and present their estimate to your agent, or you can go with an auto body shop that your agency considers “pre-approved.” If you choose the former, don’t forget to have your estimate approved before telling the garage to continue with the repairs.
- Consider that your car may be totaled.
If your car is severely damaged, your agency may tell you that your vehicle is totaled. This usually means that they’ve examined the estimate you’ve provided them with and concluded that the repair costs are either close to, or in excess of what the vehicle’s value would be once repaired.
Your insurance agent will still help you get your vehicle back, but they’ll “adjust” your claim so that they give you a check for the replacement of your vehicle instead of money for the repairs.
- Check to see if you have any insurance extras.
If you haven’t reviewed your insurance policy lately, see if you have any extras, such as GAP coverage, which can pay for the difference between any remaining financing you owe from a loan or lease and the value of your car.
You might also check to see if you have new car replacement coverage. If your car was less than a year old with less than 15,000 miles on it (these numbers may vary), you may be able to replace your car with another new vehicle.
Choose the Right Coverage to Begin With
When you have optimal auto insurance to begin with, the claims process is simple and straightforward, and you’re not paying anything out of pocket. Tagge Insurance can help you find the best insurance plan for you, potentially saving you thousands of dollars (plus a lot of headaches) in the event of an accident. Stop in today or give us a call to learn more.