Every year there are more than six million car accidents in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Car accidents are scary whether it’s a minor fender bender or a serious collision, so it’s important to be prepared for any possibility. Use these tips to help you get through an accident safely and start the insurance claim process.
At the Scene of the Accident
- Determine if anyone involved in the accident is hurt.
- Once you’ve checked on the well-being of yourself, your passengers, and anyone else involved in the accident, get out of the way of danger. If the accident is minor and you’re not injured, move your car to the side of the road and put on the hazard lights or set up flares to alert other drivers to slow down.
- Call the nearest police station to report the accident. If there are more serious injuries to those involved in the accident, call 911.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers including:
- Full name, mailing address, phone number, and email address
- Accident location
- Insurance company name and policy number
- Driver’s license number and license plate number
- Model and color of vehicle
- Document the scene of the accident. Take photos and video. If the police respond to the accident, ask for the police report number and the officer’s name and badge number. Avoid discussing who is responsible for the accident. The insurance adjuster will make this determination.
- Get roadside assistance if your vehicle cannot be driven and needs to be towed.
- Contact your insurance company to start the claims process.
Report a Claim
Depending on your insurance company, you can often report a claim by phone, on the company’s website, or by using the mobile app. Information you will need to provide includes the location where the accident occurred, the date and time of the accident, and a description of what happened. Once you complete the claim report, a claim examiner will contact you to discuss the next steps and schedule an adjuster to inspect your vehicle’s damage and determine which party is responsible for the accident.