Picture it: You’re headed into downtown Waukesha for a concert with a friend on a Saturday night. All’s well, and your spirits are high until, out of the blue, a car careens around a corner and crashes right into you as you’re making a right turn.
What are you supposed to do? Do you stay there? Move your car? Call the police? Call an ambulance? Whose fault was it? Does it matter? And most importantly: Is this covered under your insurance?
With dozens of questions swirling through your head, this is a prime time to make a mistake accidentally, but don’t. You’ve got to be calm and focused at a time like this. Here’s what to do.
What to Do Directly After a Car Accident
- Get to safety. Move your car away from traffic and check yourself and others in the car with you for injuries. Call an ambulance right away if needed.
- Call the police so that an accident report can be made.
- Get information from other drivers, including the following:
– Contact Information
– Insurance Company Names & Policy Numbers
– Driver’s License Numbers
– License Plate Numbers
- Take pictures of the scene of the accident, any injuries, your vehicle, the other drivers’ vehicles, and any other pertinent information.
Remember that after an accident, even if you think it was your fault, you should never admit it. This doesn’t mean you can’t be polite, but be sure to think calmly and focus as you answer questions, and don’t make fleeting comments about the accident. Later, you may be proven at-fault for the accident because of something you said.
How to Go About the Claims Process
You’ll have several options for getting a repair estimate on your car. Most of the time, vehicle owners go to their own auto body shop get an estimate. This written estimate must then be taken to your insurance agency and approved before the repairs can be carried out. Remember that an adjuster at the insurance agency may make changes to the estimate and not provide you with coverage for the full repairs.
Another option is to go with a preapproved shop, a “preferred” mechanic who works consistently with your insurance company. This is an easier route because the estimate will, in all likelihood, be immediately approved by your insurance company.
Finally, certain insurance companies may provide their own estimates for the repairs, but this is rare.
At this point, you’ll choose the repair shop you’d like to go with, and once you’ve had your repair estimate approved, you can move forward. Remember that your insurance agency may come to you and tell you that your car has actually been totaled as well.
When severe damage occurs, insurance companies often consider it wiser to replace the vehicle completely. This is usually when the repairs would cost more than 70% of the vehicle’s depreciated worth. In these cases, you’ll get a check for the replacement of the vehicle, less the deductible.
When Is the Last Time You Checked Your Policy?
The quality of your auto insurance policy will determine how easy and fast the claims process is carried out. The better your plan, the easier the process will be and, naturally, the more coverage you’ll have after a devastating auto accident.
Go over your policy today to make sure it’s right for you. It should have ample limits and be comprehensive enough to protect you and your family after any type of collision. Our agents at G&L Insurance would be happy to speak with you any time about your coverage options. Just stop on over or give us a call.