Do you know what to do in a small accident? Maybe you’d intuitively do some of the things I’m about to describe but I see folks time and again not doing these three things and risking thousands of dollars in the process.
When you’re in a car accident it’s uncomfortable and usually very contentious. It can bring out the worst in people. The other driver may want to leave the scene of the accident. They might say something like “nothing big happened, there isn’t that much damage. let’s just go home.” I’m here to make sure you’re prepared for that to happen.
Here are the three things to do:
#1 – Call the police
It’s super important to have a police report throughout the insurance claim process especially if you’re not at fault in the accident. If you don’t have a police report we have to trust that the other person will tell the truth to the insurance companies. While I would love to tell you that happens every time, I can’t. It simply isn’t true. Stories change and without a police report things can get messy very quickly. So call the police even if the other person doesn’t want you to. That police report is essential.
#2 – Get the other person’s insurance information.
The name and address is a good start, but it’s not all you should walk away from the accident with. The most important info to get is their insurance company and the policy number. Now if you call the police the police should collect that information for you and give you a field
report. But police officers are not required to provide you a field report and sometimes they don’t. So you need to make sure (whether
that’s by asking the police officer or by going and talking to the other person) that you collect their insurance company information and the policy number before
you leave the scene of the accident.
#3 – Don’t say it was your fault
You may want to say things like, “I shouldn’t have done…” or “Gosh, I’m so sorry I can’t believe I did….” but you shouldn’t.
The insurance companies will figure who is actually at fault in the situation. Don’t make those decisions at the scene of the accident. Just tell the police officer exactly what happened. Nothing more, nothing less.
Saying anything that admits fault could come back to bite you in the insurance claims process.