You’ve been involved in an auto accident! Now what?
If you have ever experienced a minor car accident, you’re not alone. There are around 6 million car accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Even though a fender bender may be common, in the moment it’s not always easy to remember what to do when it happens to you.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you are involved in a fender bender:
First things first! Stop the car. If you’ve just had a minor accident you do not have to leave the cars where they are. Instead, pull off the road and focus on getting to safety. Once you’re out of the line of traffic, turn on your hazard lights. If you can’t move your car without damaging it further, you might have to leave it where it is, but be sure to turn on your hazard lights.
Remember: Though laws differ from state to state, in most places it’s against the law to drive away without stopping after an accident, even if it wasn’t your fault…and hit-and-run penalties may be severe.
2. Call the Police.
Once you’ve pulled over to the side of the road, call 911 and report the accident. Even if no one has been injured, a police officer acts as a natural party and may produce a report that could help you with your insurance claim. Note: if the accident happened on private property, such as a parking lot, the police may not respond. If that is the case, look around you to see if there are any witnesses.
3. Exchange Information
One of the most important things you can do after an accident is exchange information with the other driver. After an accident, you may not always remember what information you need to get; that’s why Guide Insurance now offers insurance card holders that list the information you need.
So grab your insurance card, driver’s license, and vehicle registration and exchange the following details with the other driver:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Driver’s license number and expiration date
- Insurance company policy numbers and contact information
- License plate number of the other car
- Make, model, and year of the other car
- Contact information of any eyewitnesses
When the police officer arrives, write down their name and the accident report number. You can request a copy of the accident report; it usually takes a couple days after the accident for the report to be ready, but it will be helpful when it is time to file a claim.
4. Take Pictures
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, grab your phone and take some pictures. Snap a photo of damage to all of the involved vehicles. You may also want to take a few shots of the location where the accident took place. This will help in the event of an insurance claims dispute.
5. Give us a call.
Give us a call to report the accident. We will help walk you through your options. Your insuring company will want to speak directly to you so we will connect you with them to make your report. You can also report most minor losses directly to your insurance carrier online. We have links to all the carriers we represent on our claims page.
Remember, Guide Insurance is always there to help, so please don’t be afraid to call!