If you are in a minor car accident with another vehicle, you may think that it is a waste of time to report or claim it. However, repairs can cost more than what it may seem, and symptoms from soft tissue injuries may appear hours or even a couple of days later. Just like you should know how to jump start a car, you should understand when to report an accident and the steps to take after a crash.
When You Should Report an Accident?
You should always report an accident to your insurance company if it involves another vehicle or if it is a solo crash and there is damage to the vehicle. You should report it immediately after the crash, as this not only gets the claim started quickly, but it also increases the chances that your insurance company will cover the damages.
If another vehicle is involved, it is also a good idea to file a police report. This helps to prove fault and also helps with the insurance claim. With a minor accident, it may be tempting to just exchange information with the other driver and be on your way. However, the other driver may give you false information or lie about having insurance coverage. Having an official report minimizes this.
What to do After a Minor Car Accident
After an accident, the first thing to do is check for injuries of you and any passengers and make sure there is no pressing danger like a fire or heavy traffic. When you can, move your vehicle to the side, out of harm’s way. At this point it is a good idea to call the police.
While waiting for the police, you can exchange information with the other drivers. This information includes:
- Full name
- Address and phone number
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Insurance policy and contact information
Once you have exchanged information, it is a good idea to take notes about what happened, as memory can fade quickly. Take pictures of the scene and damage of all involved vehicles.
After giving your report to the police, and you are free to leave the scene, assess the situation. If anyone is noticing symptoms such as neck pain, headaches, back pain, or fogginess, you should get medical attention. If your vehicle is damaged, contact your insurance company to get repair advice. If you take your car into a shop, the mechanic may perform a vin number lookup to ensure the right parts are used for repairs.
During the days after the accident, pay attention to your body, as some symptoms appear later. If you have any, visit a doctor or chiropractor for treatment.
Getting into a car accident, even if it is a minor one, is never fun. It is always a good idea to report it to your insurance company. Even if all your car needs is a car touch up paint, your insurance may cover part or all of the costs, so it is worth filing a claim in most instances.