How to document a car accident for insurers
Perhaps you backed into another car. You may have had a tree branch fall on the vehicle. Or, a large accident happened, and you are waiting for help from the police. In any of these situations, you need to do your best to document what is happening and why. It can play a big role in determining what happens to your claim and coverage. How do you handle a car accident? Here is what you need to know.
Be sure you are safe
It’s always best to call the police as your first step if an accident involves other people or another person’s property. Be sure everyone involved is safe, too. Your goal should always be to do what it takes to be safe. Then, and only when you are able to do so, you can take steps to document what happens.
Talk to those around you
It’s a good idea to get the names and phone numbers of anyone who stops to help you. Gather information about those involved in the accident, too. You may need to contact these people, or those watching from a distance, for information later. They are witnesses to what happened.
Be honest with the police
In most cases, the officer responding to the situation needs to gather information to make a decision about fault. Be sure to provide full and only accurate information to the police. This helps you later when you need to file a claim. If you leave something out now, your auto insurance company may question it later. You do not have to admit guilt or innocence in the crash. However, you must tell the truth.
Take your own photos
It is ideal to use your phone to gather information, too. You can use it to record people speaking, but photos are by far the most valuable tool available to you. Gather photos of the entire surrounding area. This includes inside your car and out. It may include other people’s vehicles. These may help serve as proof.
Call your agent
If your car is out of the way or you are at home, contact your car insurance agent. He or she may wish to see the vehicle and what happened. Try to avoid having it taken to a mechanic until this can happen. Your agent may also give you instructions on what to do to get help.
The key here is to gather as much information as possible for your auto insurance claim. This can help you prove your case later.