Thursday, January 22, 2015

6 Steps to Take After an Auto Accident Occurs

A safe driver already takes steps to avoid accidents, for example, checking your blind spot, using turn signals and allowing enough distance between vehicles. No matter how careful you are on the road, auto accidents can still happen. As your Lake of the Ozarks insurance agent, I want you to know what to do next in this situation so you can stay calm and safe.  Here are 6 steps to take to give yourself peace of mind!

1. Do NOT leave the scene. 

The first thing you should do if you are involved in a car accident is to call the police. Never leave the accident scene until it's appropriate to do so. If you leave, particularly where someone was injured or killed, you can face serious criminal penalties for being a hit-and-run driver. Before assessing property damage, make sure everyone involved in the accident is okay. Seek medical attention for anyone who needs it. Don't move any injured people unless absolutely necessary. Direct other traffic around the accident.

2. Record Information. 

Be sure to trade all contact information among the people involved. Record names, addresses, phone numbers and driver's license numbers of all drivers. Write down descriptions and license plate numbers of all the cars involved.  Get names, addresses and phone numbers of all passengers and any witnesses as well. You will also want to get the name of the insurer and policy number of all drivers involved in the accident.  

3. Diagram the Accident. 

Make a diagram of the accident, showing all cars involved. If possible, take pictures, including the surrounding area traffic signs, lane markings and the damage to the vehicles involved. These photos will come in handy during the claim process.

4. Contact Your Insurance Agent. 

In addition to calling the police, you will want to contact your insurance agent at the Lake of the Ozarks too. Report the incident, providing as many details as possible. Regardless of the severity of the accident, it is important to keep you insurance agent in the loop. If any payments have to be made to you or anyone else involved, the sooner your insurance company knows of the situation, the better.

5. File a Report. 

The police will take statements from all drivers involved in the car accident and determine if a police report is necessary. This information will be important when filing insurance claims for your auto accident. Even if it's just a couple of scratches, you've got to file a police report. Otherwise, you're giving room for people to be dishonest. Be sure to write down the investigating officer's name and badge number in case your insurance agent or attorney needs to contact the officer.

6. State the Facts. 

State the facts of what you saw and what happened when asked by the investigating officer or an identified representative of your insurance carrier. Do not accept or place blame for the accident. You should express concern for any injuries or damage sustained by anyone else involved in the accident, but don't admit you were at fault. Taking responsibility is typically an emotional statement that isn't well thought out. If you acknowledge blame, the police investigation of the accident may not be as thorough as usual.

The most important thing to have if you get in an accident is Lake of the Ozarks auto insurance. Besides the fact that it is legally required, insurance is needed to cover any personal injury or property damage caused by the accident. You don't want to cover those costs out of pocket. Insure the Lake will help you decide on which company to purchase insurance coverage from. Advantages vary from company to company, so we'll review your options with you to find the coverage choices that are right for you!

About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC

3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral

T: 573-348-2794
F: 573-348-0191