What you need to know about your insurance after a car accident

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Written By LoydMartin

To provide clarity and guidance in the complex realm of insurance, ensuring our readers and clients have the knowledge to secure their rights and their future.





Tips for reporting and submitting car accident insurance claims

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 5 million motor vehicle crashes occur every year. Would you be able to provide the information necessary for your insurance claim if you were in an accident? These are some tips from the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking that will help you obtain the right information after a crash car accident.

Be prepared

Before you drive, make sure to review your auto insurance policy. Your insurance covers the vehicle and not the driver. A copy of your current car insurance card, as well as registration documents, should always be kept in your car.

Ask your agent for details about your policy. This includes your deductible, liability limits, and other important information. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage may be an option if your insurance company offers it. This clause may help you protect yourself if you’re in an accident involving an uninsured/underinsured driver and it was their fault. This consumer alert provides more information about your policy.

Talk with your teenager driver parent about the dangers associated with unsafe driving. Research has shown that teens who are taught safe driving habits by their parents are less likely than those who don’t. Learn how to prepare your teens to drive safely.

Safe driving is possible with the help of your teenagers

Safety is the first concern for parents of teenage drivers. You cannot always be there for them, but you can do things to make sure they are safe behind the wheel. Safe driving can save lives as well as money by educating yourself and your teen driver.

Set Expectations

While teenage driving statistics are alarming, car accident research has shown that rules set by parents can reduce accident risk by up to half. Openly discuss your expectations regarding behind-the-wheel behavior.

  • A formal Teen Driving Contract should be prepared that clearly outlines the driving rules and consequences.
  • You should establish a driving ban. More than 40% of teens die in auto accidents between 9 p.m. – 6 a.m.

Limit the number and age of your teenager’s passengers in their car. The relative risk of a fatal collision for teenagers increases with the increase in the number of passengers.

Keep all cell phone calls and texting while driving off-limits. The likelihood of an accident can be doubled by texting and talking on your cell phone.

Encourage your teenager to use his or her passenger rights. Only 44% would say that they would speak out if someone was driving in a manner that scared them.

Keep costs low

A teen driver can cost you a lot of money if they are added to your auto policy. You and your teen driver need to understand that even minor fender-benders could increase costs. These are some tips to consider:

  • Make sure that your teen and you keep their driving records clean of accidents and other moving violations. Many companies offer discounts for drivers who have maintained clean records for three years or more.
  • Your teen can enroll in defensive driving courses. If your teen successfully completes a course, there may be discounts offered by some companies.
  • Encourage your teen and encourage them to keep a high GPA. Insurance companies often offer discounted rates or preferred rates to teens who keep good grades.
  • Ask your insurance agent about an “accident forgiveness” clause. It guarantees that premiums will not rise after one minor accident.
  • Consider raising your policy’sdeductible and allowing your teen only to drive the oldest, most expensive car in the family. The type of vehicle that is driven affects the auto insurance premiums. It is more expensive to insure SUVs, convertibles, and sports cars.

Install a smartphone program that blocks texting or restricts driving.

After an accident

Being in an accident can be chaotic and stressful. It can be difficult to recall what to do right away after a crash. Many people aren’t sure what information to share with the other driver. The driver would appreciate your name and insurance information. You could be at risk of identity theft if you give away more than that, like your address and driver’s licence number.

WRECKCHECK is a mobile app developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to help ease the burden of collecting information and filing insurance claims. This app will guide you through a step by step process to create an accident record. WRECKCHECK allows users to take photographs of the accident scene and to only record what is needed to file an insurance case. The completed accident report can be sent to both yourself and your agent. A printable checklist can be downloaded here [PDF] if you don’t have a smartphone.

We have more information on what you can do after an accident.

  • Be calm and take in the surroundings. If you are not allowed to get out of your vehicle, don’t.
  • Contact the police to report any injuries. If the police do not respond, you may file an accident claim. This can help you to file a claim.
  • Be kind, but don’t be rude.
  • Name and contact information for witnesses.

Making a Claim

It is best to initiate the claims process immediately, while you are still absorbing the details of your accident. Make sure to have the police report or incident report, information from your insurance company, and a copy or accident report that was created on the spot. Keep track of all conversations with agents, accident insurance companies, claims adjusters, or auto shops.

Your insurance company should have the ability to file the claim for you and communicate with the other companies. It is possible that the other driver’s insurer may ask you to speak with them about the accident. The damage to the vehicle will be examined by an auto repair shop or claims adjuster who will talk to you about the incident. Your insurance company will use these findings to determine the settlement.

Talk to your insurance company to determine who will pay for the vehicle damage, rental car expenses, and any medical bills resulting from the accident. The amount of the expenses you incur will depend on who is responsible, which coverage you have, and what your state of residence.