When You Have an Auto Accident

It happens to almost everyone at some time. You’re driving along, when all of a sudden, BOOM, you have an accident. When You Have an Auto Accident you should:

  • Stay calm and check for injuries. Safety and personal health always comes first.
  • Move your car to a safe place, turn on you hazard lights.
  • Call the police, even for a small accident.
  • Take notes and, if possible, take photos of the damage and conditions.
  • Exchange names, addresses, driver’s license and insurance information with the driver of the other car. You should always have your own insurance information with you in the car.
  • Be polite and provide the required information. *Stick to the facts, this isn’t the time or place to get emotional or make accusations.
  • Call your insurance company as soon as possible, even for a small accident.
  • Stay on the scene until the police have finished and left.

Does it need to be reported?

In most cases, yes it needs to be reported.  Private settlements between drivers often don’t work out.  You may think that you have an agreement for a couple hundred dollars, but once you pay the other driver is free to come back again and say that more is needed.  Plus, most states have laws that require reporting motor vehicle accidents over a certain threshold.

The only time that you can get away with not reporting is a single car minor accident. Something like backing into the garbage cans or mailbox.  Note that this might be against some insurance company policies, bit as long as there’s no one else involved, no property damage to others, and there are no injuries you’re probably ok.  Of course you might want to evaluate if filing a claim is worthwhile if the damages are well over your deductible amount.

An accident might increase your rates but some companies have forgiveness programs for first or minor accidents.  Check your policy for details.