Recently, my wife was involved in a small auto accident in a parking lot which prompted a phone call to me about what to do. Apparently, the other party was calling her husband to ask what to do as well. Hence the reason for this blog post.
There are 5 Steps to take immediately following an Arizona auto accident that will help the claim go smoother for everyone involved.
- Call 911 - If there are injuries, immediately seek medical attention. If this is an accident that's occurred on the roadways then calling 911 and involving the police is the right way to go. If the accident has s happened in a parking lot, and there aren't any injuries, then calling the police isn't necessary as they won't respond to these types of incidents.
- Don't admit fault - You may be the nicest person in the world and the accident may be your fault, just don't say anything. Ultimately, the insurance companies will do their investigations, record their statements, and determine fault. Your admission of fault at the outset may elimate or mitigate a percentage of fault the other party might have in the accident.
- Only exchange the right information - People exchange way to much information after an accident. I've seen people share driver's license numbers, phone numbers, and other personal information that you should NEVER share. And ladies, if you're involved in an accident and the other person is a man, and you're being intimidated or harassed to share information beyond what I'm going to say right now then immediately call the police. The only information you are required to share and that's necessary for a claim is the Insurance Company, your policy#, and the phone number for that insurance company. This information can be found on your auto insurance card. There should be a phone number on the card for either the insurance company or your agents office phone number. Only give this number. You should never provide your cell phone or home phone numbers. This is an exchange. You should get and give the same information. If the other party doesn't have insurance then you should immediately involve the police.
- Take pictures of the scene(if possible) and notes - The assumption here is that there aren't any injuries. Obviously, if you're injured skip this step. It's in you best interest to have a good recollection of the accident so when you're discussing it with your insurance company or the other party's insurance company you'll have all the details. Pictures are worth a 1,000 words as they say. It seems that most everyone has a camera on their cell phone so once you've determined that everyone is ok and it's safe, take notes and pictures. There are smartphone apps available to assist you at this step. My agency app has this feature built right in. I'll tell you more about it at the end.
- Call your insurance agent or insurance company - When you get home, call the insurance company. If you think the other party is At-Fault (sometimes this is very obvious, other times not so much) then call their insurance company directly to initiate a claim. This will save you from having to come out of pocket for your Collision deductible and waiting for reimbursement from the other company if you file the claim directly with your insurance company.
Following these 5 Steps Immediately After an Arizona Auto Accident will help the claims process go smoother and quicker for you and result in higher satisfaction of the whole process.
Our agency has an app available on ITunes and Google Play which has a robust accident reporting feature. You can take pictures, write notes, and even email the report to those who need it. You don't need to be a client of our agency to have access to this smartphone app. Follow the instructions here to get the app on your phone today.
Author Richard Morris
Richard Morris, an independent insurance agent in Gilbert, Arizona and Chandler, Arizona, has been serving and helping Arizona families and businesses with all their insurance needs for over 24 years. Visit his website at http://www.southwestpremierinsuranceagency.com to see all the ways he can help you with your insurance needs or call the office at (480) 336-2707 or toll free at (888) 907-9349. Connect with Rich on Google+ and Twitter.