When you get into an auto accident, no matter how minor, it's expected that you'll feel stressed out and unsure of what to do. Even under stress, however, it's important that you follow the rules of the road and the requirements set out by your insurance company. To do this,
Do Not: Refuse to Provide Your Insurance Information
If you weren't responsible for the accident, and even if the other driver admits their responsibility, it's important that you exchange your insurance information with the other driver. This will speed up the claims process and keep you out of legal trouble.
If you refuse to give the other driver your insurance info but they write down your license plate number and later change their story by claiming you caused the accident, you could be facing fines and even criminal charges. Whenever you're in an accident, no matter how minor it may appear, it's best to just exchange your information and be on your way. Refusing to exchange information may be seen as a sign of guilt by the other party's insurance company, and it could even raise red flags with your own insurer once they become aware of the accident.
Do Not: Avoid Calling the Police to Report the Accident
While it isn't illegal to simply exchange insurance information and be on your way without calling the police, assuming there are no injuries or major damage, having a third party document the accident and investigate the scene can prove favorable down the line.
The police don't have the resources to go to every minor accident scene, but if they do come, the documentation they provide can make or break your auto accident claim. A police officer is a neutral party who simply reports what they see – this can be beneficial if it was obviously the other driver's fault and can provide your insurance company with the proof they need to handle your case.
Do Not: Avoid Informing Your Insurer of the Accident
Even if you don't file a claim with your auto insurance provider, it's likely required in your policy contract that you still must notify them of any accidents that occur.
If your provider finds out about the accident without you having notified them (the other driver filed a claim and your insurer was notified or you try to file a claim for the accident down the road), you could be facing a premium rate increase or even cancellation of your policy. If you don't want to find yourself suddenly without auto insurance, it's in your best interest to report the accident to your insurer within the time frame they mention in your contract.
Car accidents aren't fun, but if you avoid making the three mistakes mentioned above your experience will go a lot smoother. To learn more about your insurance provider's accident policies, read through your policy handbook or contact your insurance agent today. Contact a business, such as the TLC Associates, for more information.