Steps to follow in minutes after car accident

Auto Insurance Basics, Disasters

Lake effect snow is covering the region today. The weather service issued warnings for the affected areas. All drivers are
strongly encouraged to use their defensive driving skills to stay safe in these winter conditions.

And this morning, I was rewarded for heeding that advice.

On the way to work, a vehicle ran a red light in a major intersection. I and two lanes of traffic had already started moving forward on the slick road. Like in a slow motion movie, I saw the car that had been alongside me, continue on a collision course with that red light runner. Their side collision kept their cars in an unpredictable path of motion.  Thankfully, I had maintained a good distance from the car ahead of me, and I was able to react defensively in the situation.

Safely I got to my destination, grateful that nothing had happened to me. However, I did wonder, “Just how prepared am I to deal with an accident?” In an accident, our adrenaline and emotions are running high. Also, it may be hard to keep a clear head from the impact.

Having a plan is key to managing the situation

To help us all be prepared, Insurance Cleveland Agency has created this easy to follow list of steps and necessary information to collect at the accident site.

Print this sheet for each of your cars. Then, place the informational sheet in the glove compartment with paper and a pen. This way you are able to write down the information in case your cell phone is broken in the impact.

Review these steps with all members of your family and talk about potential scenarios that may happen on the road.

Practice asking these questions so that the process is less stressful in the actual event.

Steps in Case of an Auto Accident

Step 1: Determine if all parties are OK.  Call 911 if medical attention is needed.

Step 2: Contact the police. The police will write up a report of the accident. The police report will help you when filing an insurance claim.

Step 3: Collect necessary information about your car accident. Take photos of the car accident scene and the car damage. Do not allow people to take photo of your car license. The license contains personal information beyond the needed information for a claim. Protect yourself from identity theft.

Step 4: Call your insurance company right away at the scene of the accident. They will open the claim for you and assign a claim’s specialist to your case. Your company will also provide information of how to proceed based on your auto insurance policy coverage.

Step 5: Get your car repaired per the claim specialist’s estimate of damage. Be aware that if you make a repair that was not part of the estimate, you may not be reimbursed for that particular repair.

Necessary Information to Collect Onsite of Car Accident

Information about the Accident

  • Date and Time of the Accident
  • Address of the accident, or approximate address
  • Road you are on and the nearest cross street
  • The direction you were traveling
  • The direction the other car was traveling
  • Take photos from a few angles or sketch a diagram of the crash scene
  • What happened (As soon as you can, write out your account of what happened, or use your mobile phone to record yourself telling all the details for your own records. Our memory recall is best immediately after the event.)
  • Any notes regarding the driving conditions, the weather, visibility
  • Any witnesses names and contact information
  • The name, badge number, and contact information for any police officer who comes to the accident

Information About the Driver

  • Name of Driver
  • Address of Driver
  • Phone number or other contact information

Information About Other Driver’s Insurance Company

This basic information is found on the other driver’s proof of insurance card.

  • insurance company name
  • insurance company policy number 

Information About the Other Car Involved in Accident

  • Vehicle Description, Make, Model and Year
  • Vehicle registration information
  • license plate number

Hopefully you won’t need this list.  But just in case, you are prepared.

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