Car accidents can be pretty traumatic, both physically and emotionally. Even if you're convinced it was the other guy's fault, the moments immediately following a crash aren't the time for finger-pointing -- which is why your insurance agent often should not be the first person you call. Instead, use your cell phone to record a quick voice memo or a small notebook or jot down key information. The best time to report the accident is when you're safely away from the scene of the accident and can clearly and objectively compile the details. The first things your insurance company will need to know are the basics:
- Date and time of the accident. In order for your claim to be processed as quickly and justly as possible, your responsibility is to help your insurance company recreate the scene of the accident, even down to seemingly trivial details like weather and traffic conditions.
- What really happened. This can be a challenge, as emotions and adrenaline run high after this type of incident, but a step-by-step documentation of how the accident occurred is crucial to getting your claim addressed. Be sure to include details like speed, direction of travel and location of all parties involved, along with who hit whom.
On the next page, we'll explore what your insurance company needs to know about the damage from the accident and how best to document and report it.