Picture this: On a rainy night, you’re driving down the highway when all of a sudden, your vehicle begins to hydroplane. As you try to regain control, another vehicle begins to pass you and before you know it, you’ve hit them on the passenger’s side and both of your vehicles are out of control.
In just a few seconds, you come to a stop in a shallow ditch off the road. Your car is damaged. You see the other car ahead of you — also in the ditch and also damaged. It’s raining cats and dogs.
What on earth do you do now!?
Is this damage covered under your insurance?
Is the other driver okay?
Correctly Handling a Car Accident
The first thing to do after a car accident is to make sure everyone is safe. Move your car to a safe location, and turn on your hazard lights. Check yourself for injuries. If you have other people in your car, check them too, and call an ambulance if you need to. Call the police as well. You need to do this in the event of any type of vehicle accident, no matter what.
Next, exchange information with the other driver, and try to keep calm at all costs. You want to exchange the following information:
- Contact information
- Driver’s license numbers
- License plate numbers
- Insurance company names and policy numbers
Lastly, take pictures of the scene of the accident.
Understanding the Claims Process
If you’ve never gone through the claims process before, the procedures quite simple. Essentially, you’ll be working with a claims adjuster from your insurance company to determine how much of your claim will be covered by your policy.
Naturally, this means that the extent of your coverage will depend on the policy you purchased from your insurance agency. Most insurance agencies have both basic plans that will have high deductibles and cover little damage and more extensive plans that have extras and add-ons to save you thousands in the long run.
If you can’t remember what your policy covers, speak to your claims adjuster. Review your deductible, and ask about any endorsements you have, such as rental insurance coverage, GAP coverage, or new car replacement coverage.
Once you understand your policy more fully, ask your claims adjuster about where you should take your vehicle for an estimate. They may recommend a “preferred” auto body shop who can give you an estimate that will be pre-approved by your insurance agency right away. Otherwise, you can choose the auto body shop you’d like to go to. Just remember that you need to get your estimate approved before you can okay the repairs.
Your insurance agency may review your estimate and decide that your vehicle is “totaled.” In this case, the cost to repair your car will be about 70 percent more than the current total value of your car. In other words, the insurance agency will decide that it’s not worth repairing your car because of the extensive damage. They’ll tell you that you need a replacement vehicle instead. If this happens, you’ll receive a check to shop for a new vehicle instead of a check to cover repairs.
Is Your Auto Insurance Ready for an Accident?
The best way to a smooth claims process is to have an ample insurance policy to begin with. And this can only happen if you choose an insurance agency with a good reputation.
Choose a top-rated insurer, and work together with your agent to choose the right deductible, limits, and endorsements. The next time you’re in an accident, you’ll have no problems.
Agents at Heinen Insurance are here to speak with you about auto insurance plans at any time. Stop in to see us today.