Though no driver wants to think about it, getting into a car accident becomes a real possibility every time you sit behind the steering wheel of your car.
This is why it’s crucial to prepare yourself in advance for the unexpected, so you can go through the whole ordeal with as little stress as possible. Here’s what you need to do with your car after a traffic accident:
Call the police
The number one rule to keep in mind after getting into a car accident is that you shouldn’t drive away under any circumstances. Even if the accident was minor and no one got injured, you should always stay at the scene and contact law enforcement. Leaving the scene of the accident is a criminal offense, and regardless of who’s at fault for the crash, you need to stay until the police arrive and exchange information with the other party.
While the police officer is talking to the other driver, don’t interrupt them or try to put your two cents in. Wait for your turn and, in the meantime, find a piece of paper and write down everything you can remember about the accident. When it’s your time to be interviewed, stay calm and polite and answer the police officer’s questions truthfully. Be careful, though, because everything you say may end up on the police report and incriminate you.
Contact your insurance agent
After you’ve made sure no one got seriously injured in the crash and once you’ve contacted the police, it’s time to call your insurer. Again, try to give an accurate account of the events and let the insurance agent and police determine who is at fault.
Before you take your car to the repair shop, make sure you’ve obtained a repair authorization from your insurance company. The insurer will most likely recommend a few repair shops, but you’re not obliged to listen to their advice. Once you’ve decided on the body shop, inform your insurance company and tell them to send an estimator there.
Get your car repaired
Before you make a final decision about the repair shop, make sure the mechanic possesses a certificate, check out customer reviews online, ask the shop if they offer warranties on repairs, and compare their prices with other well-established car repair shops.
One of the most common car accident damages involves windows and windscreens. Luckily, auto window replacement and repair is a relatively simple process if you find the right mechanic. It’s best to choose a repair shop that uses high-quality replacement resin and has an excellent customer service reputation.
Hiring a professional car repair service has a number of advantages over DIY repairs. Certified mechanics have the right tools and experience to make the necessary repairs without inflicting even more damage to your car, which is something that often happens when people try to fix the car themselves. Hiring a licensed mechanic will also save you money in the long run, since professional car repair services will issue a warranty in case you’re not satisfied with the final result and will also give you an option to cover the cost of repairs with your insurance.
Make a claim
When filing an insurance claim, you will be expected to provide accurate details about the car accident, including the time, place, date, photos of the scene, a copy of the police report, and names, addresses, and insurance information of all involved parties. Your insurance company will then assign you a claim adjuster who will go through all of the relevant information and make sure the claim is processed without delays. Your claims adjuster will also be responsible for negotiating with the car repair shop, draft a damage report, and determine your financial loss.
When dealing with a claims adjuster, it’s in your best interest to be as transparent as possible and provide all the information they ask for. Keep in mind that a claims adjuster is not your lawyer but a representative of the insurance company, so if at any point you start to feel that the adjuster is biased or unfair, you have the option to hire an attorney.
The claim adjuster may also give you advice in case you also need to file a personal injury claim, so make sure you see your GP and obtain a medical report.
A traffic accident is always a traumatic experience even when you escape uninjured and your car suffers only a small amount of damage. So, to make it easier for you and everyone involved, make sure you stay calm at the scene of the accident, communicate with your insurance company, get your car professionally repaired, and follow through with your medical treatment.
Audrey Taylor was born in San Francisco and moved to Adelaide at the age of five. Marketer researcher and social media manager on hold, full – time mommy of a cheerful two-year-old. Graduated from Queensford college, worked in a couple of marketing agencies across Australia, eager to learn more about business and share her experiences. Traveled across Europe. Her hobbies include home decor, fashion, travel, music, old movies.