I hope you never have an auto accident but the number of minor accidents are on the rise due to texting and driving so if you are involved in an auto accident, here are some reminders:
1. Know What Your Insurance Covers. The whole process will be easier if you know what your coverages are before anything happens so contact us if you would like to discuss and understand more about your coverages and options. In my opinion, the most important coverage on your auto insurance policy is third party bodily injury liability and property damage coverage because these damages are unknown and can be unexpectedly high if someone is injured and needs life support or there are multiple vehicles involved. To help manage your risk, you will want higher liability coverage limits. Third party bodily injury liability coverage pays for someone else's bodily injuries such as medical payments, hospitalization, emergency services, life support, etc. if you cause an accident. Third party property damage coverage pays for someone's vehicle or vehicles or building that may have been damaged. These are the two largest exposures you have while driving.
2. Determine if you are okay and that you or your vehicle are not in imminent danger of becoming struck by any vehicles or objects. If necessary, move your vehicle to safe place if you can safely do so. Turn on your vehicle's hazard lights.
3. Call 911 if necessary. Check if anyone has been injured and be able to describe the location of the accident, what vehicles are involved and whether the accident is blocking the flow of traffic but mostly importantly, report severe injuries first.
4. Avoid moving seriously injured people. Under Texas Law, reasonable assistance must be given to injured people including arrangements for transportation to medical assistance if necessary. However, do not move anyone whom you suspect may have a serious injury to avoid further injury.
5. File An Accident Report. Contact the police. They will let you know if an officer needs to be present. If an officer does not come out, you should file a crash report at http://www.dot.state.tx.us/drivers_vehicles/crash_records/reports.htm to help document the accident.
6. Exchange Information with all parties.
7. Take a Picture of the scene with your camera phone or draw a sketch. Take a picture of the damage to other's vehicle(s).
8. Get Witnesses contact information (name, address, phone number, email number, etc.) This reminder is very very important as sometimes the other party changes their story and having witnesses provides an unbiased third party statement that could help you.
9. Call your Insurance agent or carrier to get assistance and report your claim.
10. Call a Towing company to move your vehicle if disabled to your body shop.
Call a rental car company like Enterprise 1-800-261-7331 for a rental car if you need one. Enterprise will pick you at your location and take you back to the rental car company if necessary.
If you get into an auto accident, it will help if you have the following items on hand. Make sure to always have these in your vehicle:
- Your insurance ID card
- Your vehicle registration
- A list of emergency contacts
- A medical card listing allergies to any medication, or special conditions
- Pens or pencils
- A note pad
- First-aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Rags or paper towels
- Trash bags
- Cell phone
- Disposable camera (if your cell phone does not have one.)
If you are prepared, and you know what to do in an accident, it will be easier to remain calm and collected when a mishap occurs.