Most people will be involved in a car accident at some point in their lives. Thankfully, most car accidents do not involve injuries and even fewer involve fatalities. Even the best drivers — or those who think they are the best drivers — can be involved in car accidents. According to one study, the average person will file a claim with their auto insurance about once every 18 years. Of course, this number will vary for a myriad of reasons ranging from poor road conditions to plain bad luck. Whether you have never been in an accident before or you — for better or worse — consider yourself a seasoned pro when it comes to handling car accident insurance claims, we are here to offer a step-by-step guide for what to do immediately following a car accident.
But first, before you get behind the wheel, double check to make sure your car insurance policy is not expired. It is illegal to drive without car insurance, and if you find yourself in an accident without it, what could have been “no big deal” will quickly turn into a very big deal. If you are looking for the best car insurance policy, be sure to consider J. Thomas & Associates, your Houston Allstate insurance agent. We are proud to serve the residents of Houston, Sugar Land, and the surrounding areas. Get in touch today for a free no-commitment quote and learn about ways to save when you bundle your insurance policies or qualify for Allstate discounts!
What NOT To Do After An Accident
Before we tell you what to do, we will tell you what you should definitely not do. First, do not leave the scene. Whether you barely tapped another car in a parking lot or were involved in a pile-up on the freeway, remain at the scene. Even if you don’t have insurance, you will be better off dealing with those consequences than dealing with the consequences of not having insurance and fleeing the scene.
Next, do not panic. Car accidents can be mentally and physically jarring, but it is important to remain calm. Along those lines, do not yell at or provoke other drivers who are involved, regardless of whose fault it is. Remain civilized and know that nobody wanted this accident to happen.
Finally, do not forget that there are other cars around you. If you exit your car, you still need to remember that you are on an active street and other cars may be too busy looking at the accident to see you standing next to your car.
What To Do After A Car Accident
Now that we have gotten the what-not-to-do’s out of the way, we will walk you through a step-by-step guide about what to do following an accident.
Check For Injuries
Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If no one is injured in your car and it is safe to do so, exit your vehicle and check on the passengers or the other car. If anyone is injured, call 911 or ask a bystander to call and wait for emergency personnel to show up unless someone is in need of lifesaving help, in which case begin performing first aid if able. 911 can walk you through these steps if needed. Be careful when moving an injured person. If there are no injuries, move on to the next step.
Move To Safety
If your car is driveable and is creating a hazard, pull it to the side of the road. If the car is not driveable, move to the side of the road away from traffic to avoid getting hit by oncoming traffic and leave the cars where they are.
If someone is injured, it is important to call 911 before you do anything else. However, if there are no injuries, then you can wait until after everyone has been moved to safety. Some states legally require you to report all accidents, regardless of the severity. Texas is not one of these states, but it can still be helpful to have a police officer on the scene to take statements and document the accident. If you speak with any officers, be sure to document their names and badge numbers.
Exchanging car insurance and contact information with other drivers involved in the accident. It is recommended not to discuss who was at fault. Your insurance will handle all of this. You should have the other driver’s full name and phone number, all of the information on their insurance card including their company and policy number, their driver’s license number and license plate number, the make and model of their car, and where the accident happened.
Document The Scene
Take pictures of the accident from all angles and any damage done to your car or other cars involved. Talk to witnesses and ask for their contact information. It is best to also exchange contact information with the passengers of the other vehicle as well.
File A Police Report If Necessary:
You can always call 911 after an accident, even if there are no injuries. This is especially important if your cars are blocking traffic and creating a hazard for other drivers. Just be sure to let the dispatchers know that there is not an active emergency. If a police officer is at the scene, you may ask to file a police report with them, call the non-emergency number later to file a report, or visit a police station.
Notify Your Insurer And File A Claim
You can call your insurance agent at any time, even at the scene of the accident. However, be sure to call them as soon as possible after an accident. Your agent can walk you through the claims process and help you understand your coverage.
If you already have a car insurance policy with Allstate and are unsure about your coverage, just give us a call. We’d be more than happy to go over your policy with you and ensure you understand your coverage, your deductible, and more. Additionally, if you are thinking about getting a new policy, get in touch with us today and we can offer you a free car insurance quote and answer any questions you may have.