You’re standing next to your previously pristine car. The body is now dented, a headlight is broken, but thankfully no one has been hurt. You’ve had a fender bender, and you are wondering what to do next. Here is some advice on how to proceed from the moment you pull over to the moment you call your auto insurance company.
- Safety First. Take action to prevent further property damage or bodily injury. In minor accidents, move to a safe area on the side of the road and out of traffic immediately. Turn on your hazard lights and set flares, cones, or hazard triangles to help alert passing cars that they need to be cautious. Ensure that everyone is okay. Nothing is more important than making sure your passengers and others involved in the accident receive appropriate medical care as soon as possible if needed. In cases of more serious accidents, please use your discretion in deciding what course of action to take.
- Call the Police. Immediately. No matter how minor the accident, a police report helps to protect all parties and providesthe appropriate documentation insurance companies will need to ensure all claims are handled correctly. Be sure to get the name and badge number of the officer(s) on the scene. Do not leave the scene until police have arrived. If the police are unable to respond, go immediately to the local police station and fill out a vehicle accident report.
- Exchange Information. Don’t wait for the police report. You want to make sure you have the other driver’s insurance information and that he or she has yours. Also, be sure to get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses including vehicle occupants.
Document Everything. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, with either your phone or a camera you keep in your car, as well as the other cars involved in the accident. Try to take photos