Accidents happen. They happen every day. It is the main reason you have insurance. When you are involved in an accident, there are a few things you can do to make next few weeks go by smoothly.
1. Is everyone OK? If there are injuries, dial 911. I see many auto claims come through my office and the good news is, the majority of them are “hit stationary object”, “hit car in parking lot”.
2. Did the accident occur on a public road? If so, you will want to call the police and get a copy of the police report. In Idaho, if you get a ticket and caused an accident, you are the one who is liable and it will be YOUR insurance policy that will step in and offer coverage. The ticket is one thing the insurance companies look for to determine fault.
3. Exchange information with the other driver(s). In this day and age, almost everyone has a smartphone. I would suggest you take a picture of their insurance card, front and back. This will have their name, their policy number, the company they are insured with, and their agent’s contact information. Get their cell phone number as well. I would even call it right on the spot to make sure they are giving you the right number.
4. If you are in a parking lot accident, it gets a little more exciting. Police generally can’t give tickets out on private property. Witness accounts are important if you feel like fault is going to hard to determine. If the claim turns into a he said she said scenario, it makes the whole experience a real pain.
5. There are some coverages that might be helpful to use right away. Towing and Medical are two coverages that are used often in these scenarios.
6. Call your agent and get the claims process started. If it was someone else’s fault, I would call the agent who is on the insurance card you took a photo of. If you don’t get through, every insurance company has a Toll Free number for claims. Call that number with the policy number and you can file the claim that way. If it was your fault, call your agent, or the Toll Free number for claims for your company. Farmers is 1-800-Help-Point.