If you were to get into an accident while on the road, would you know the proper steps to take to make a claim? If not, we’ve highlighted some key information to help you get confident about the claims process — so you know exactly what to do after an auto accident.
What to Do Right After an Accident
If you get into a car accident, first, if possible, move your vehicle to a safe location out of traffic — and make sure you don’t leave the scene! If you can’t move it, that’s okay. Turn off your engine and get out of the vehicle if you can. Then check if anyone is hurt and call 911 if they need medical assistance. Even if no one is seriously injured, you should call the police and report the accident.
Next, gather the correct information and details about the accident, so when it comes time to file a claim and work with insurance companies you have everything written down and pictures you can use as evidence.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t accept or place blame on the other driver. You’ll figure all that out later with your insurance company.
- Take photos of the scene, including the other driver(s) involved, license plates, any damages done to their vehicle and yours, the direction each vehicle was traveling and traffic signs. These are all important details you’ll want to have on hand when dealing with insurance and filing a claim.
- This one is extra important: Exchange information. You’ll want to share your name and insurance company with the other driver, and get the other driver’s insurance and contact information as well.
Capture as many details as you can by taking notes on your phone. Gather the following information:
- Year, make, model, color of the other car
- Driver and passenger names and ages
- Exact location of the accident
- The speed you were driving
- Date and time of the accident
- Weather conditions
- Time the police arrive, as well as their name and badge number
- Road conditions
- Witnesses (get their names and contact information)
Find out more about what to do after a car accident — so in the event of the unexpected, you know how to confidently handle the situation.
Do I Need to Call the Police After a Car Accident?
Absolutely. You’ll want to notify the police right away — not only in case someone is injured, but the police report will be one of the main factors that insurance investigators use when assessing your claim.
Whose Insurance Do I Call After an Accident?
Usually, in simple rear-end or clear liability accidents where the at-fault driver accepts responsibility, you probably don’t need to call your insurance company — unless you were at-fault. In that case, the sooner you call, the sooner your insurance provider can help you get things back to normal.
Some states are considered “no-fault” states, which means if there is an accident, it’ll be your insurance that covers you up to a specified limit for personal injury, car damage and related claims, such as lost wages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Likewise, the other driver, even if you were at fault, will be responsible for their damages and injuries.
Insurance compensation for car accidents can vary depending on where you live. Do you live in a no-fault state? Check your policy for the specifics to better understand how you’re covered.