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
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.