Here’s What to Do When You Get in a Car Accident – Credible

It’s a good idea to be aware of what to do after an accident in order to best protect yourself physically and financially.
Jacqueline DeMarco
Here are the steps to take at the scene of a car accident (keep in mind, these steps only apply if you or the other driver are not seriously injured and can communicate):
First things first, if you can safely move (in some cases, you may need to remain still until medical experts arrive on the scene), it’s best to move yourself or your car to a safer area where you can deal with the fallout of the accident. Your safety needs to be your top priority after a car accident.
If you or anyone else at the scene of the accident requires medical help, it’s best to call 911 right away. Even if there are no injuries, calling the police after a car accident can be helpful (it’s also required in some states). A police officer can complete an accident report, which can serve as useful proof during the claims process.
You’ll need to write down any names, phone numbers, addresses, and driver’s license numbers from any drivers involved in the accident. You’ll also want to get their license plate and vehicle identification numbers, as well as the name of their insurance provider and their policy number. It’s a good idea to get the names and contact information for any passengers involved in the accident and any witnesses — especially if you believe you aren’t at fault for the accident.
If you have a smartphone or a camera on hand, take photos of damage to any cars involved in the accident, as well as the scene of the accident. Keep these photos safely stored away in the event your car insurance carrier asks you to provide them when you file a claim.
Notify your insurance carrier immediately to get the claims process started. Your insurance agent can give you guidance on next steps for your claim.
Learn More: How Long After a Car Accident Can You File a Claim?
What you shouldn’t do at the scene of an accident is just as important as what you should do.
Remember not to:

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It’s easy to get flustered after an accident, but it’s essential to collect all the key information that your insurance carrier will need to investigate the accident and process any claims. Collecting this information immediately after an accident can save you some headaches down the road.
Make sure you don’t leave the scene of the accident without collecting the following information:
Check Out: What Happens If You Get Into an Accident Without Car Insurance?

Unfortunately, it’s not over when you leave the scene of the accident.
Here are some steps you’ll generally need to take once you get home:

The requirements for who you need to contact after an accident can vary by insurer and state, but generally, you should notify the following parties as soon as possible:
Read More: Auto Loans for All Credit Types

If you choose to file a claim after a car accident (you may decide to pay out of pocket instead if the damage is minor, or to take out an auto repair loan), you’ll typically need to take these steps:

Here are the answers to a couple commonly asked questions about car accident claims.
A deductible is the amount you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance provider steps in to pay for any repairs or injuries. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium will typically be. Keep in mind, it’s important to choose a deductible amount you can afford to pay if an accident does occur.
In some cases, a car accident can increase your insurance premium, but not always. If you’re not at fault for an accident, there’s a chance your premium won’t increase at all. The person who’s at fault, the claim amount, your driving record, and other factors can all influence whether or not an insurance carrier increases your premiums after an accident.

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Disclaimer: All insurance-related services are offered through Young Alfred.
Jacqueline DeMarco has been a personal finance writer for over seven years and is a contributor to Credible. She has contributed content to more than a dozen financial brands, including LendingTree, Credit Karma, Fundera, Chime, MagnifyMoney, Student Loan Hero, ValuePenguin, SoFi, and Northwestern Mutual.
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