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I’ve been in an accident; now what?

Posted August 26, 2015 in Altoona, Advice Column

Driving while lost trying to follow the directions on the GPS, scolding kids in the back seat, inclement weather or a moment of distraction no matter how brief. It happens to all of us at some point, a series of unfortunate events that lead to an accident. We’ve put together some steps to help put organization to the process from the time of the incident to the repair.

While it may seem like common sense, always stay at the scene. Assess any additional potential dangers to you, the other party and passing traffic. Make sure that you are in an area that will allow you to talk with any other individuals involved in the accident safely. Check passengers and others involved to see if everyone is ok or will need medical attention and call the police. Police reports can help assist in insurance claims that may be processed.

After an accident emotions and tempers can run on high. Try and stay calm and cool tempered while trading your personal and insurance information. Information that you will want is:

  • Personal Information
    • Name of the driver and other individuals in the car
    • Address
    • Phone number
    • Make and model of the vehicle (Ford Focus, Dodge Ram, etc.)
    • Driver’s license number
    • Plate number
  • Insurance Information
    • Insurance company
    • Phone number
    • Policy number

Call your insurance company and inform them of the accident and ask your insurance company about rental coverage and any deductibles. The deductible will be owed to the shop at the completion of repairs. It may be helpful to take photos to help document damage.

Different insurance companies have different ways to handle the estimating process. Some insurance companies will send an adjuster to write an estimate and some will request any estimates and photos done by a body shop. You are able request an on-site inspection if you know the repair facility you are going to be entrusting with your repairs. Body shops are required to work off of an estimate written by the insurance company. If they provide you with an estimate it is important that you supply that information when dropping a vehicle off or you may be held responsible for any supplemental damages found upon tear down of a vehicle. Most importantly NO INSURANCE COMPANY CAN DICTATE WHERE YOU HAVE YOUR REPAIR DONE.

If a repair is being paid for out of pocket, ask to be kept in the loop if any additional repair is going to be needed. While we are usually pretty close with estimates, sometimes there can be hidden damage upon teardown of a vehicle.



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