In the moments following a crash, you may feel confusion and make some mistakes that may cost you on an auto insurance claim or delay the process of getting payment for the accident. These mistakes may seem minor and unimportant, but it is information and documentation that would help your claims adjuster speed up the process or in a more serious case, help defend you in court.
At the scene of the accident, here are a few things that you should be sure to avoid:
1. Admitting fault. There’s little that your Claim Adjuster can do to defend you against the other driver’s insurer if you have already admitted fault to the accident. Even if you know if it was your fault, let your auto insurance company take care of the ‘fault’ in the accident.
2. Not taking pictures. Try to take a picture of the exact scene of the accident, of course only if it is safe to get out of the car to do so. If you can’t step out of the car, pull into the closest, safe parking area and take pictures of the scene, as well as all four sides of your car, odometer and air bags (if the bags deployed). Doing this can really help speed up the process and, as mentioned before, defend you if the case escalates to a court case.
3. Not calling the police. Even with smaller accidents, you should seek out a police officer to write an official police report. Some insurance companies may think that you might be hiding something fraudulent if you report accidents without an official police report.
4. Not getting all necessary information. Besides getting the other driver’s insurance information, name, license plate number, driver’s license number, you’ll need to get other information as well. Some details that you may be forgetting is the make and model of the car, whether there are other passengers in the other car, if there were children in the car, the responding police officer’s name and badge number, names and phone numbers or any witnesses. This is information that needs to be filled out when you make an insurance claim for the accident.
5. Avoiding medical help. Although you may feel fine immediately after the crash, the pain may reveal itself after a few days or even months later. It may have seemed like a light accident, but the impact on your body may be severe, such as whip lash. Make sure you mention any injury to your insurance claims adjuster so that they can cover your medical bills too.
6. Not notifying your insurance company immediately. There are situations where the damage doesn’t seem to be a lot and the other driver begs you not to make an insurance claim so that they can just pay out of pocket. It is best if you let them know that you must report all accidents so that your carrier can cover the cost of damages. Costs may be higher than the other driver estimated and they may not be able to cover it out-of pocket.
Avoid these six mistakes to speed up your insurance claim process and to help defend your case. Remember, the insurers of the parties involved are going by what you and the other driver tell them. Pictures and official police reports are the best way of making sure that your facts are right.
What do you think about reporting all incidents? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.