Being in a car accident is never fun, after the initial shock of the crash you will have to deal with the repairs of your vehicle as well as the insurance claim. While you will probably be a bit confused or frustrated after the accident there are a few actions that can actually make matters worse so follow these tips to make sure your accident goes as smoothly as possible.
Its Not Just a Fender Bender – While it might look like a minor fender-bender, the costs could end up being significant. There is the possibility that the frame is bent, the axle damaged, or other structural damage. Even a damaged bumper that is filled with sensors and crumple zones can be a very expensive fix. No matter how minor the damage, you should get all of the other drivers contact information, including their insurance ID number. This will come in handy if you need to make a claim later.
Never Apologize – Even if you think the accident might be your fault, don’t apologize or admit fault, it may be used against you later in a lawsuit. Simply exchange information with the other driver and let the insurance companies determine fault and settle the claims. Admitting guilt can result in a claim against you and a possible lawsuit if the accident is severe enough, for that reason, let the adjusters work it out.
Document the Scene – Many people think that if it is just a minor accident there is no need to take photos or call the police. Again, regardless of how minor an accident you should take photos of the scene as well as the damage to your vehicle, and that of the other person. Insurance experts recommended calling the police and getting a police report which can help determine fault. It is possible that the police will refuse to come out for a small incident but you can at least tell your insurer that you tried.
Consider Paying for Towing – If your car needs to be towed and you have roadside assistance on your policy you might want to cover the cost yourself. While roadside assistance is usually a low cost add-on, if you use it frequently it could result in a premium increase. Each tow or jumpstart ends up on your policy record and could drive your rates higher at renewal time.
Don’t Delay Filing a Claim – It is best to contact your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident. They will advise you how to proceed and in many cases will direct you to an approved repair center to get your car checked out. The adjusters will also get started on their investigation to determine fault and settle any claims.
Don’t Choose a Deductible You Can’t Afford – While it may seem like a good idea to raise your deductible to lower your insurance payment, if you don’t have enough money to cover the deductible you may find yourself unable to get your car repaired. It is best to keep your deductible in a range that you can easily afford, even if it results in a higher monthly payment.
Find a Lawyer – If you are involved in a serious accident and have sustained injuries it is best to speak with an attorney. A lawyer can help explain your options in regards to lawsuits as well as dealing with your insurance company if you are unhappy with their offer or claim service. Look for a lawyer that has experience in the type of accident that you were involved in.
Being in an accident is always a hassle, don’t make matter worse through your own actions. These tips should help you navigate the minutes and days after an accident.
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