If you have never been in a minor accident or even a fender bender, you can consider yourself lucky – or just overdue. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, minor accidents are still frequent. So much so that carrying an active policy is mandatory in 48 states in the U.S.
Car insurance liability covers bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, even uninsured and underinsured motorist protection, depending on the policy. You can even add drivers, usually family members, and vehicles to your policy.
Check out the text below to learn how to handle minor car accidents while keeping costs to a minimum in 5 simple steps.
1. Contact The Police Immediately
Even a minor car accident is extremely stressful, and emotions tend to run high. The damage to your vehicle might not seem substantial enough to contact the authorities. Additionally, the other driver might try to plead with you. Even if they promise to pay for the damages, stories change, and you will want the police at the scene as an objective third party.
Companies such as PathwayPort can make this, and all subsequent five steps a breeze. They offer helpful services to insurance agencies that, for example, let you contact roadside and emergency services in-app. Don’t forget to wait for the police to arrive. Otherwise, the other driver might use your absence to change the narrative to their advantage.
2. Move Your Car
Minor accidents rarely result in serious injuries, but a vehicle blocking the road is a danger in itself. To protect your property and other drivers, move your car to the nearest safe area. This way, you can wait safely for the police to arrive. You avoid running the risk of road blockage or even causing a secondary collision.
If the car won’t start and you cannot move it, put out safety triangles, and consider engaging hazard lights.
3. Exchange Information With The Other Driver
Ask the other driver for their name, address, insurance company name, policy number, and license plate number. Don’t forget to ask whether or not they own the vehicle they were driving.
If need be, ask for additional details regarding the car’s true owner. Then, you can take down the color, year, make, and model of the other vehicle. Always be polite, and remember never to apologize or claim responsibility for the accident in front of the other driver or the police.
It is not your job to determine who is at fault, and such statements might prove detrimental to your case during legal proceedings.
4. Take A Photo Of The Damages
While taking down the other driver’s car details is useful, insurance apps such as PathwayPort’s Self-Service Kiosk let you go a step further. Take a picture of any damages to your car or your body, and upload the images in-app.
Photographic documentation goes a long way in determining the severity of the damage. While taking pictures is not something that immediately crosses most people’s minds when they get into an accident, this can prove to be useful evidence in the future.
5. File An Insurance Claim
Once you have moved your car to a safe place, talked to the police, and exchanged information with the other driver, it’s time to contact your insurance company. Many insurance agencies will allow you to speak directly to their representative, who can walk you through the process.
Depending on the specifics of your auto insurance policy, your insurance agent can arrange for a towing service. They can also call you a rental if your car is not in a driveable state.
If it is determined that you are at fault, file a liability claim, and the insurance can cover the other driver’s medical bills, car repair, and your legal fees.
Additional tip: The insurance industry is the backbone of the economy, but you need to know who to trust. When choosing an insurer for your auto insurance policy, ask for the claim settlement ratio. Make sure you are putting your trust in companies that have integrity.
Even if you are the most capable, responsible driver out there, your safety depends on other people. Drunk drivers cause as many as 60% of U.S. accidents, and damages to your person and property can be substantial.
Auto insurance can be a financial lifesaver regardless of whether or not you were an at-fault driver. Remember, drive safely, and contact your insurance agency in case of any trouble, to get your car back on the road as cheaply and as quickly as possible.