So, you’ve been involved in an accident…
If you have the misfortune of being involved in a car accident, it’s important to carefully manage any interactions you have with the other driver(s) involved. Starting at the scene it’s best to keep your discussion to the bare minimum, and make no statements about fault. Later, once your insurance broker, agent or an adjuster becomes involved, there really is no reason whatsoever to interact with the other driver(s) or their representatives. Those interactions are best left to the experts… because beyond any repairs to your vehicle, or replacement if it’s a total loss, having them act on your behalf is part of the reason you pay insurance premiums.
At the Scene of an Accident
Emotions can be running high in the first few minutes following a, accident and like most situations in life, it’s not the best idea to respond while, scared, shaken up, upset or injured. No matter what – do not take responsibility for what has happened to either the other driver(s) or police.
If the damage appears to be more than $1,000 – which is a far lower threshold than you might imagine, the police must be called. You are also required to call the police if anyone is injured, or if any other property has been damaged, such as a light pole or someone’s fence.
Once police are on the scene, provide your statement based on what you can recall. Keep it to the facts, and make no statements regarding fault.
Do not talk about the accident with the other driver while you wait for the police.
While waiting, either take photographs of the scene if you are able, or even make notes.
If you and the other driver believe the police do not need to be involved, get their name, phone number and driver’s license and insurance information. Take the time to write down accurate information, contact your insurance company and pass on all of the information to them.
If the Other Driver Wants to Avoid Insurance
It is not uncommon for the other driver to try and avoid police involvement. They may even suggest keeping the insurance companies out of it entirely, and may offer to pay for the damages directly. This most often happens when the other driver believes they are to blame for the accident and are looking to avoid a ticket or insurance rate increase.
But failing to report an accident to your insurance company is not a good idea, even if the damages don’t seem all that bad. There’s no telling what the other driver might do or claim after the fact, and such a decision could come back to haunt you.
If asked not to report the accident, inform the other driver (calmly) that you prefer to allow insurance professionals to handle the situation. Once you report the accident to your insurance company, they will handle contacting the other party’s insurer even if that person did not file a claim.
Once the Claim is Filed
Once your insurance company gets involved, there is literally no reason for you to have any contact with the other driver(s). If they contact you, politely refer them to your broker or adjuster.
An adjuster knows all the legal aspects of accidents and claims, so let them do their job. Again, it’s why you pay premiums in the first place.
Making any kind of agreement with the other driver involved in an accident is risky and could cause trouble for you down the road. While the fear of a possible rate increase can tempt you to try and work it out with the other driver, in the long run such a decision could end up costing you far more if the other driver changes their mind and decides to file a claim.
At DPM Insurance Group, our Brokers and CSRs are professionals when it comes to navigating through these situations, and will always be looking out for the best interest of our clients. Your Security – Our Responsibility. Click here to contact the office closest to you: https://dpmins.com/locations/