What To Do When You’re Involved In A Fender Bender
Being involved in a traffic collision can be extremely unnerving. It may be difficult to think clearly as you try to collect your thoughts and check whether you’re injured. It’s important that you know what steps to take in order to make sure the event is documented properly and you can follow up with the other driver. If you have never been involved in a fender bender, use the following tips as a blueprint to guide you through the experience.
Keep Your Thoughts To Yourself
A lot of motorists are tempted to absorb responsibility for the car accident, even if fault lies with the other driver. It’s fine to ask the other person if they’re injured, but avoid discussing the accident until the police arrive. That will give you time to clear your thoughts so you can provide an accurate account.
Take Pictures And Notes
Photograph both vehicles. Ideally, the photos should clearly show any damaged parts on your car and the positions of the vehicles in relation to the road. That will provide context. When you contact your insurance company, the photographs will help validate your claims.
Also, write down any notes that seem relevant; you may be unable to recall certain details later. If anybody who is not involved with the accident witnessed it, collect their contact information.
File A Traffic Accident Report
It’s helpful to complete a police report, even if you and the other driver are uninjured. Not only does the report document the event, but it can often help accelerate the response from your insurance company.
Get The Other Driver’s Information
Getting the contact information of the other motorist is essential if you intend to follow up later. Ask for the person’s name, phone number, address, and insurance policy number. You’ll also want to have their driver’s license number. Finally, if the other person doesn’t own the car, ask how they are related to the owner and ask for the owner’s contact information.
Review Your Auto Insurance Policy
You should have a basic understanding about what your auto insurance policy covers before you’re involved in a collision. Take the time to review your policy. Does it cover a rental car and tow truck? Does it cover your car in the event the other driver is uninsured? At the very least, know where your policy is so you can quickly contact your insurance company to start the claims process.
One last note about getting into fender benders: if the damage is minor, it’s tempting to settle the matter privately rather than contacting your auto insurance provider. That can leave you vulnerable. The other motorist might change his mind and contact his provider, making up details that are inaccurate. If your carrier is unable to determine what truly happened, you may become exposed to a lawsuit. Play it safe and report the incident to your auto insurance provider. The extra time you spend is a good investment for peace of mind.