Compare-autoinsurance.org has launched a new blog post that presents the steps drivers have to follow after a car crash and how a minor incident affects their car insurance policy.
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Driving is not always safe. Each year, there are more than 6 million car accidents across the US. Fortunately, most of these car accidents are minor and are only limited to property damage. Drivers getting into a car accident should follow a protocol in order to ensure that both drivers remain safe, abide by the law, and jump-start the car insurance claims program.
Drivers who got involved in a car accident are advised to follow the next steps:
- Pull off the vehicle to a safe spot. The last place where anyone should stop their damaged vehicle after a fender bender is in the middle of the highway. This should be avoided at all costs. It's unsafe for both parties, as well as for other drivers on the road. Unless it's a serious accident, drivers should do everything they can to pull over to a safe spot on the side of the road.
- Try to remain calm. For many people, car accidents can be frightening. No matter who is at fault, the first thing to do is to resolve the issue peacefully while minimizing confrontation. Drivers should avoid getting angry and pointing fingers at each other. Instead, they should try to remain calm and controlled in order to quickly resolve the issue.
- Check for injuries. One of the first things drivers should do after being involved in a crash is to check if they are hurt. If they have serious injuries, they shouldn't move and should call 911. Also, they should check their passengers for injuries. If they are hurt, drivers should request immediate assistance from the paramedics. Serious injuries such as a spine or neck injury caused by whiplash may not be felt for a day or two.
- Stay in the area. It's important to not flee the scene of the crash. Many drivers still commit a hit and run every year. Drivers should remain calm and make sure to the hazard lights on and wait for emergency personnel to arrive to assist with vehicle damage and accident victims. Even a hit and run after a minor accident can be classified as a felony.
- Call 911. Even if the accident is minor, drivers should notify the police and request for an officer to come to the scene. In some states, drivers are legally obligated to do so. Once the officer arrives, they will provide or call for emergency medical care if needed, they will secure the accident scene, they will speak with all the parties involved in the crash to investigate what occurred, they will document the scene and potential causes of the crash, and they will fill out an accident report. To facilitate the claims process, the insurance company may ask for a copy of the police report. Before the officer leaves it's important to obtain his details such as the officer's name, badge number, phone number, and police report number.
- Exchange insurance information. After completing the steps above, drivers can exchange contact and insurance information with the other party. Ideally, they should obtain the other driver's full name, contact information, insurance company, policy number, license plate and license number, type, color, and model of the vehicle involved in the crash, and location and time of the accident. Drivers should never admit fault after a car accident.
- Document the accident scene. Take pictures of the crash scene. Photograph the vehicles involved in the crash from various angles and clearly show the damage done to the vehicles. Talk to witnesses and ask for their names and contact information.
- Contact the insurance company. When filing a report with the insurance company, drivers are required to include information such as what happened from their perspective, the contact and insurance information of the other party involved in the crash, the police report, and the documentation done at the crash scene. In most cases, the insurance company will contact the driver in less than 14 days. If that doesn't happen, the driver can contact their insurer for review and ask them how much their car insurance will go up after the car accident.
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