You’re headed to Milwaukee with your family for a concert on a Friday night. All’s well until you make a wrong turn somewhere near the outskirts of town.
As your wife reads you directions and you eye street signs, you take another wrong turn, but just as you try to right yourself, you hear a cruuuunch …
Somehow, another car has sideswiped your vehicle, and now you’re both stopped in the middle of an intersection. The other driver’s getting out.
Was it your fault? Was it theirs? Should you move? Is everyone okay? Is this covered under my insurance?
Knowing what to do in these situations is tough. And at Smith Insurance, we want to help you be more prepared if you ever find yourself in a similar predicament.
Read on to learn what to do directly after an accident. We’ll also discuss how to handle an auto insurance claim.
What to Do Immediately After the Accident
- Put safety first.
If you’re able, pull over to the side of the road, turn off your car, and turn on your hazards.
- Call for help.
If anyone has been injured, call for help immediately.
- Collect essential information.
Get names and contact information from everyone involved in the accident. This includes insurance information. Take pictures of the accident, and you get a copy of the police report as well as the police officer’s information.
- Contact your insurance agent.
Give your insurance agent a call and explain what happened.
Further Steps to Take
- Find a rental car.
Many auto insurance companies will provide rental car coverage. This means that they will arrange for you to have a rental car during the time in which your damaged car is being repaired.
- Get estimates on repairs.
Estimates on repairs will depend on your situation. You may decide to go with a pre-approved shop that works directly with your insurance company, your insurance company may write their own estimate, or you can choose your own repair shop and get the repairs approved by your insurance company.
- Should you repair or replace? Make a decision.
In some situations, a severely damaged car should be replaced instead of repaired. This is usually when the expenses needed to repair the vehicle will be more than 70% (or another percentage depending on the agency) of the complete value of your car.
- Get repair approval.
If you’re ready to move forward on repairs, make sure you get approval beforehand. It’s possible for your insurance company to disapprove estimates, so you always need to check with them first.
Otherwise, you should receive a check for your new vehicle if you’ve decided to replace the damaged car.
- Look into optional coverage.
Check with your insurance agency about any optional coverage you may have.
For instance, there’s a related coverage option called GAP or loan/lease coverage. This takes care of the difference between the balance you may still owe in financing on your car and the cash value of your car.
Heard of “new car replacement coverage”? This is relatively new to the auto insurance world. Essentially, if you have this particular coverage, you may be able to get a brand-new replacement car. This depends on how old your car is (usually it’s for cars that are less than a year old and have less than 15,000 miles, but it varies from insurance company to insurance company).
Choose the Right Plan and You’ll Have no Problem
If you’re worried about whether or not your auto insurance will cover an accident like the example we gave above, speak to your insurance agency. Choosing the right plan with adequate coverage is the main concern when it comes to limiting gaps.
At Smith Insurance, one of our knowledgeable agents would be happy to speak with you about your policy. Come on in or give us a call for more information.