Chances are that at some point in time, you are going to experience a car accident. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported an estimated 5,615,000 accidents in 2012. While vehicles are becoming smarter and safer, there is still a large number of accidents every year and we hope that none of our customers ever have to go through such an event, but the odds are, some will. Here at Fred Martin, we treat all of our customers like family and continue to help them long after they purchase the vehicle. So here are steps that will get your vehicle back to normal after an accident.
: Stay calm. If you have been involved in an accident of any kind, the most important thing is to get to safety. If your vehicle still runs, pull if off the road or onto the shoulder. If it doesn’t, the next step is to get clear of your vehicle. It is very rare for a vehicle to catch on fire but should that happen; you don’t want to be in it. Wait for any traffic to come to a stop and when it is safe, exit the vehicle and move at least 10’ away. Turn on your hazard lights or set flares so the accident is visible to other drivers.
Now that you are safe, it is time to get help. Find a way to contact the police so they can direct traffic and report the incident. Many times, the police will also contact tow companies that will come and pick-up your vehicle should you need it. The Police will handle most of the activities in an accident including a police report. Don’t declare blame in a report but simply give officers the facts and they handle the rest.
Contact your insurance. Whether you have a specific agent or just a policy, contact the number on your insurance card and let them know what happened, and follows any steps they may have for you. They will need to know where the vehicle is going so they can send an agent out for a repair estimate or may even have a specific place they want the vehicle sent. Once again, simply give the agent the facts and let them sort out the rest.
Exchange information with others involved (if applicable). If you were involved with another vehicle, exchange basic information and insurance info, or if you damaged property such as a building or a fence, try to contact the owner. Good information to exchange is names, contact info and if they were driving, license plate numbers, insurance company and policy number. This information will help to process your claim with your insurance company.
After your insurance gets involved and the vehicle finds its way to a body shop, an estimator will evaluate the damages and estimate the amount required to fix the vehicle. After this is prepared and approved, the body shop or collision center will begin repairs. Many insurance companies will send their agent back after the repairs are completed to review the work. Once everything is completed, you will get the final inspection before getting your vehicle back.