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When You Should Contact Your Insurance Provider to Report an Accident

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On: Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 6:28AM | By: Elizabeth Puckett

When You Should Contact Your Insurance Provider to Report an Accident

Car accidents can be a very traumatic event. Drivers don’t plan on getting into accidents and most of us are not as prepared to handle the aftermath as we should be, but many of us will get into an accident at some point in our lives. Research suggests that drivers get into accidents at a rate of once every 10 years on average. Understanding when it is appropriate to file with the insurance company can be somewhat confusing, especially if you are the only person in the accident. It’s important to understand the appropriate times to file before you are ever involved in an accident to ensure the best possible outcome in a bad situation.

When you are involved in a car accident, lots of things race through your head and you are usually in a state of shock. If you are in a car wreck try to stay calm, even though this can be one of the most hectic situations you may ever find yourself in. The first thing you should do is move your vehicle off the road, if possible. Do not attempt to exchange information in the middle of the road; this could lead to deadly injuries caused by rubbernecking passing motorists. After you are safely away from further danger, check for injuries of other involved parties, call for help if necessary, and call the police.

Once you are able to exchange information, gather all contact information from the other driver, get information on the car (plate, VIN, description), and insurance information. Also, take down witness contact information, take photos of the scene, and make notes about positions of the vehicles before they were moved. Blame should never be assigned and fault should never be admitted at the scene of an accident. Even a simple “I’m sorry” could come back to bite you in court, so be polite, but don’t incriminate yourself either.

In accidents where two or more vehicles are involved, 70% of the time they are insurance claim worthy. If you are in an accident where there are significant damages, it’s almost always the best idea to let the insurance companies hammer it out—private arrangements almost never work out. Besides, even the most minor of accidents can cause thousands of dollars in repairs.

So what if your car is the only one involved in the accident? Some insurance providers offer accident forgiveness programs if you’ve never been in an accident before and damages are minor. However, if this isn’t your first incident or claim, your premium is likely to skyrocket. It’s also impossible to know ahead of time how much the claim will impact your policy. The reality is, if you need your car repaired from an accident and can’t afford to pay out of pocket, a claim is really inevitable.

About the only circumstance when not filing is smart is when the accident happens at very low speeds, causes very minor damage, and involves only one car. Such scenarios that may not be claim worthy would include backing into mailbox or hitting the side of your own garage


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