Ah, summer driving. Windows open or the air conditioning on, taking in the sights and sounds of summer. On the road without a care in the world … until … you’re involved in a fender bender. Now what?
The correct answer typically depends on how much damage has occurred, and terms and conditions set out by your insurance policy. For the most part however, you won’t go wrong if you follow these simple steps:
If necessary, call 911
Survey the accident scene as soon as it’s safe to do so. If someone is hurt, call 911 for an ambulance immediately. If you believe the other driver has been drinking, or if he or she becomes abusive, again you should call 911.
Get out of the way
It’s best to move your vehicles onto the shoulder – especially if you’re on a hill or a curve, where it’s difficult for approaching traffic to see you. However, don’t move your vehicle if there are injuries, extensive damage or fuel leaks. If you do move your vehicle, lock your doors for security. And don’t move anyone with injuries unless it is necessary to get them away from fire or passing traffic.
<stron>Call police – or not
If no injuries have been sustained, it may not be necessary to call police. If you have damaged public property such as a fire hydrant, you do have to call. Otherwise, use your best judgement. Police might simply tell you to drive or tow your vehicle to a Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours.
Exchange information – before leaving the scene!
When reporting the claim to your insurance company, you will need the other driver’s name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, plate number and the make and model of their vehicle. And be sure to ask for the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle, the name of the other driver’s insurance company and their policy number. If the police are filing a report, ask for the investigating officer’s badge number and precinct phone number.
No police? Take notes
Gather information from everyone involved in the accident. In addition to the other drivers, speak with passengers, witnesses, pedestrians, cyclists, etc. Ask witnesses for their names and phone numbers, and make a rough sketch of the scene. Draw the vehicles when they collided and indicate street names, direction vehicles were travelling, traffic lights or signs, one way direction, turning lanes, skid marks, etc. Some people will even carry disposable cameras in their glove compartments to take photos of where the cars were in relation to each other, and any resulting damage.
Call a tow truck
If you belong to an auto club or are covered through your auto manufacturer, call and explain you need a tow. Otherwise, call a towing company directly. Prices vary, so ask for a written estimate before the hook is attached. Keep in mind: if your vehicle poses a danger, police will call their own dispatcher and have your vehicle hauled away at your expense.
Contact your insurer right away
CARP’s trusted insurance provider, The McLennan Group encourages you to start alert and be safe on the streets and highways this summer. But if you are involved in an auto accident, remember this.
Before you agree to any repairs, report the accident to your insurance company, who will assign an adjuster. You may be asked to take your vehicle to an authorized body shop. While some insurers let you choose the shop, they may set a limit on reimbursement. Whether you’re dealing directly with your insurance company or through an independent broker, the best advice is first to call them first … for the best advice.
For more information about CARP Auto & Home Insurance, click here. Or for your no-obligation quotation, call us toll-free at: 1-888-936-4846.
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