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I Had a Car Accident – Now What? 5 Steps To Follow When Making a Car Accident Insurance Claim

Getting into a car accident can be one of the most jarring experiences a person can have

Even a minor fender-bender can throw you for a loop. After all, nobody gets in their car expecting to get in an accident on the way to their destination. However, every driver needs to have car accident insurance and understand what to do in the event of an accident. If you’re not sure of the proper protocol, here are the steps to follow after an accident.


Stop and Stay Calm

The first thing you should do after a car accident is stay where you are. You might be a little freaked out, especially if you don’t have proper car insurance or you think you were at fault. But driving away from an accident is a crime and is only going to put you in more trouble. After an accident, you have to stop and face the music.

Just try to remember to stay calm. Getting in a car accident will no doubt be a stressful experience. However, remember that there’s nothing you can do to change what happened, but you can control how you handle things moving forward.

5 Steps To Follow When Making a Car Accident Insurance Claim - Stay Calm

5 Steps To Follow When Making a Car Accident Insurance Claim – Stay Calm

Check on Everyone and Call 911

The health and safety of everyone involved is the most important thing after any car accident. Assess yourself and everyone else in your car to see if anyone needs immediate medical attention. Even in a fender-bender, there can be injuries, especially for someone who wasn’t wearing a seat belt. If everyone in your car is fine, check on the people in any other car involved. If anyone is hurt, they become the priority.

Even if nobody is in immediate need of an ambulance, you still need to call 911 to inform the police about the accident. Even if the accident was a minor one, an accident report must be filed by the local police. The laws differ from state to state, but most require a report to be filed within 72 hours. Technically, you can wait, but it’s usually best to call the police to the scene right away so they can write the report as soon as possible and provide any other assistance you might need.

Move the Cars (If Necessary)

For the sake of a car accident insurance claim, it’s usually best to leave the cars where they were at the time of the accident. However, if your car is in the middle of the road and causing a traffic jam, you need to move it to the side of the road and put your hazard lights on. Of course, keep your own safety in mind. If you don’t think it’s safe to move your vehicle, wait for the police to arrive and let them determine the best course of action.


5 Steps To Follow When Making a Car Accident Insurance Claim - Write Down Details

5 Steps To Follow When Making a Car Accident Insurance Claim – Write Down Details
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Exchange Information But Don’t Admit Fault

This is where things can get tricky following a car accident. Your instincts may tell you to discuss the accident with the drive of the other vehicle, but it’s best not to do this. That being said, you need to exchange information so that you can both make a car accident insurance claim. If you have a pen and paper handy, try to write down as much information as you can. You’ll want to start with the name, address, and phone number of everyone else involved. You’ll also want to note the make and model of the other cars, as well as their license plate and VIN.

Perhaps most importantly, you need to exchange car insurance information with the other parties. However, don’t discuss the details of the accident with anybody but the police. Even if you think you were at fault in the accident, don’t admit this to anybody, especially the other person involved. Your car accident insurance can be contingent on you not admitting fault in the accident. Your insurer will sort that out eventually, but when talking to the other person or the police, only state facts about what happened, not your opinion on who was at fault.

Write Down Details, Take Pictures

In addition to exchanging your car insurance information with the other person, try to write down as many notes as possible about the accident while it’s still fresh in your mind. Make note of the time, date, and location of the accident. Write down the nearest cross street and any notable landmarks that are close. Also, try to write down the direction you were going, the direction of the other car, and any other details you remember about the weather or driving conditions.

If possible, take pictures of any damage done to your vehicle. The police will be interested in these details as well. However, it’s never a bad idea to write them down as well. Before you leave the scene, you’ll want to call your insurance company and give them as much information as possible. Your insurer will then be able to walk you through the next steps.

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