Car accidents are terrifying experiences. In the heat of the moment, and for days afterwards, you may find yourself so worked up that it’s tough to even think straight. Being unsure of what to say and do is natural. It happens to everyone.
Out of the many concerns you probably have at the moment, one of them is surely money. How will you pay for repairs on your car? Will you need a rental? Where will you find the money to pay for traffic violations if you are deemed at fault for the accident?
Before you start panicking, there are a few key things to remember that can help alleviate the monetary stress associated with a car wreck. Here’s how to handle every aspect of your auto accident case in a money-smart way.
At the Scene
If you’re reading this after the fact, then these are a few good tips to keep in mind should this unfortunate event ever happen again. First, as impossible as it might sound, try to remain calm. You may outraged at the other driver or hysterical over the accident, but you can’t help yourself or anyone else when your emotions are out of control.
Take a deep breath, then assess the situation. Does anyone need an ambulance? If not, start taking photographs of the accident. Your insurance can better asses the damages this way, and you may need them to settle who is at fault for the accident later.
Make sure to move your vehicle out of the way of traffic, too. You might need to have your car towed, but that’s what insurance is for. Finally, censor everything you say.
It’s perfectly fine to be polite to the other driver, but never admit that you were at fault. Furthermore, never say that you are okay or not injured. You may have suffered an injury and not realize until after your adrenaline has worn off.
Without the other driver’s information, you might find yourself liable for all incurred expenses. Your nerves might be shot, but remember to take down their:
- Any passenger names
- Phone numbers
- Email address
- License plate number
- Insurance information and policy number
- Any officer’s names and badge numbers
- Contact information from any witnesses
While nearly everyone will be cooperative during this process, never take no for an answer. This information is vital to settling the financial aspect of the accident no matter who is at fault.
Speaking with Your Insurance Company
After you’ve exchanged information and filed a report with the police, you’ll need to inform your insurance company of what happened. Do this as soon as possible to ensure you do not violate the terms of your policy. Make sure to give them all of the information surrounding the accident, providing accurate details.
If the other driver is deemed at fault, you can expect their insurance to cover everything without seeing you monthly rates rise. Having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is an excellent way to make sure that your monetary needs are covered when other drivers do not have adequate insurance at the time.
If you are determined to be at fault for the accident, your insurance may cover auto shop repairs as well as a rental car. You will still have to pay your deductible, but the majority of the cost will be covered. Some companies also offer accident forgiveness, which can help to keep your monthly premium lower.
Being in a car accident is an awful experience. However, you can make money-smart decisions just by following the steps above and letting both insurance companies handle it from there.
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