Collision Insurance

What To Do If You Get Into a Car Accident

An accident can happen at any time and any place, often when you are least expecting it. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be your fault. Regardless of the – who, what, where and whose fault, the results can be tragic. Even minor fender benders can cause a driver and passengers to feel distraught, shaken up and downright scared.

The important thing is to know how to handle the situation, if it should occur. The reality is that every driver will experience one or more accidents during the course of their driving history. The best thing you can do is be as prepared as possible, by knowing what to do when it happens.

After the Crash – Dealing with an Accident

Some of what happens depends on the location and severity of the accident. For instance, when possible, you are actually supposed to move your vehicle out of the way of heavy traffic areas such as the interstate to avoid causing even more problems.

So while many people still believe you are supposed to not move your vehicle, you should if the location of the accident could lead to another accident or pile up. Of course, this may not be possible if the damage is extensive. Aside from that there are some other steps to take following a car accident such as:

  • Turn off your engine and call 911.
  • Make sure everyone in your car and the other vehicle are alright.
  • Watch for any potential hazards, such as leaking gas, which could cause you to need to move away from the car.
  • If it is at night and fumes are not a concern, set out road flares to make the accident visible to other motorists.
  • Contact your car insurance company.
  • Take pictures if possible.
  • If you must leave the scene of the crash, make sure you take your wallet, purse or other valuable items when possible.
  • Do not accept responsibility for the accident – leave that to the professionals to determine.
  • Most importantly, stay calm.

Things to Keep in Mind

Although the aftermath can be stressful and confusing, it is important for you to stay calm and be safe. It can be easy to make mistakes because of poor judgment during the chaos following a crash. This could even mean making comments or giving a statement to the police that sounds as though you are taking responsibility for the accident.

Staying calm will also help other people react the same way. Whether it is your own passengers or an irate driver from another car, it is important to try to keep the situation from escalating. Make sure you also don’t get so confused in the situation that you neglect to do important things such as take pictures and remember to call the insurance company.

How Important Is Your Insurance in All of This?

The problem with having car insurance you are not familiar with is that you may not be aware of what type of coverage you have. Most drivers play the “wait and see” game when it comes to their policy. That means they wait until they have an accident to see what kind of auto coverage they have.

The biggest problem with this is that you may find out the hard way that you do not have the coverage you thought you had. People often settle for keeping their old policy and never looking into getting better coverage or premiums. Don’t wait until you have an accident to find out what kind of coverage you have or, even worse, don’t have.

So if you haven’t really looked over your auto coverage recently, now is a good time to do so. It is also a good time to find out what exactly some of the differences in polices are, for instance:

  • Liability – This is the minimum required by law and covers only the bodily injury and property damage to others if you are the at fault driver. If you have an accident with another car and have only liability, you will have to pay for your expenses out of your own pocket.
  • No-fault or PIP – No-fault and Personal Injury Protection are similar and are required by some states. The advantage to this coverage is that any driver involved in a collision is covered by his or her own auto insurance policy. This helps make sure all parties involved have basic coverage and cuts down on the need for legal suits to settle claims.
  • Collision – As the name implies, this coverage is for an accident involving another vehicle. Expenses for both parties are covered based on the maximum payout set, based on your premiums.
  • Comprehensive – Comprehensive is important for taking care of what most other types of policies don’t. For instance, if you have a collision with a deer instead of another car, your collision insurance probably won’t cover it. Comprehensive insurance takes care of things others don’t, such as fire or damage from vandalism.
  • GAP – GAP is important for anyone financing or leasing a vehicle that will severely decrease in value within a short time period after taking the car off the lot. If you have an accident and total your car, your standard coverage will pay the value of the car, not the amount you owe on it. GAP covers that difference.

So the type of coverage you have will determine what happens next after an accident. In some cases, your policy provider may tell you which shop to take your car to; others allow customers to take their car for repairs where they want. You may or may not be able to use a rental car, based on the coverage you have.

What is important before having an accident is knowing what type of car insurance coverage you have. This is also a good time to see how your current policy’s premiums compare to other providers. By using just your zip code, you can get immediate access to car insurance quotes. Make sure you have the coverage you want at the best prices possible by getting your rate quotes today.