When you are in a car accident, probably the last thing on your mind is what you should do to make sure that you get a good settlement. Your insurance company wants to help you, but without all the information, they can’t do much of anything. So what should you do to make dealing with your insurance company easier?
Don’t Make a Deal
When you are in a small fender bender, it is sometimes tempting for both parties to agree to a cash settlement on the spot. A few hundred dollars to repair a dented bumper, and you can both be on your way. This may be one of the worst things you can do. At the time of the accident, you have no idea the true extent of the damage. You may have sustained neck or back injuries that will only surface the next day, or your car may be in need of more extensive repair. By the time you realize, there is nothing your insurance company can do.
Witness accounts are important, but nothing compares to the reliable evidence of photographs. Luckily, everyone now carries a camera in their pockets in the form of a cell phone. If you are able, take several photos of the accident from every angle. Don’t forget to get close ups and detail shots. You should also take pictures of the other car, if possible. When taking pictures, make sure you are safe. It’s no good to have pictures if you get hit by another car while taking them.
When you are in an accident, recording the details can make the insurance claim process much simpler. Record the license plate number of all accident vehicles, the names, numbers, and addresses of everyone involved and the information of all witnesses. This is invaluable to any police investigation and insurance procedures. It might also be a good idea to jot down what happened while you are still at the scene. Memory can be unreliable, especially when you are emotional, so this will help you remember more details.
Keep Hospital Records
In the unfortunate event that you have to go to the hospital or doctor, you may be eligible for insurance reimbursement. In order to file your claim, you will need to have detailed records of your visits. Keep all bills and medical records from the doctor visits related to your car accident. Even if your insurance doesn’t cover medical expenses, you can use these records for a personal injury claim against the other driver.
Pick Up the Phone
Once you are safely home and you have taken care of any immediate medical needs, your first action should be to pick up your phone and call your insurance agent. Use the information you collected, the police report, any information you wrote down, and the photos you took to let them know what happened. The longer you delay, the more complicated this process gets, so don’t put it off. Your insurance company isn’t your enemy.
If you follow the instructions exactly, your insurance company will be able to handle your claim in a much more efficient way. This means less wait time for your reimbursement checks and less time before your life can get back to normal.