What to Do After a Minor Car Accident

Every year, there are about 10 million car accidents. According to industry estimates, most people will get into three or four accidents during the course of their lifetime.

That’s why, even though we’ve already discussed what you should do after a car accident, we wanted to follow up with more information. When you’re in a minor car accident like a fender bender, they’re not just an annoyance disrupting your day. They can lead to expensive and frustrating ordeals.

The majority of minor car accidents are caused by distracted drivers (don’t text and drive!), backing out of the driveway, braking issues caused by malfunctioning equipment or weather, driving too fast in parking lots, or making a mistake in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

The best way to deal with minor car accidents is to avoid them in the first place. Always drive defensively, brake carefully in bad weather, and don’t get distracted by the radio or your cell phone.

Of course, you can’t prevent everything. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for any fender benders that may come your way. Here are our tips for what to do after a minor car accident (part 2).

What to do after a minor car accident:

  • Always move your car out of traffic and turn on your hazard lights. That way, you and the other car(s) involved in the accident won’t be a hazard for other drivers.
  • Never accept fault. Even when it’s a minor accident and there are no injuries, it’s easy to get rattled. The do’s: Take a deep breath, keep calm, and be polite to the other driver(s). The don’ts: Don’t get angry, don’t apologize, and don’t say anything except the facts.
  • Call the police. Yes, it’s a good idea to call 911, even in the case of a minor accident with no injuries. The police report helps sort everything out and it ensures that your case isn’t just the other driver’s words against your own. Even if you don’t file a police report on the spot, some states give you up to 72 hours to file one. Find out if that’s the case in your state.
  • Exchange insurance information and contact information. This is an absolute must. Whether you call 911 or you don’t, you need to get this information so you can follow proper procedure and file claims. If you don’t have this information on you, try looking it up on your smartphone. If you have the police there and you don’t have insurance information, you could get a citation. However, some police officers will give you 24 hours to bring your insurance information to a station. Inquire if this is possible for you.
  • Don’t sign anything unless it’s for police or an insurance agent.
  • Take photos of the damage. If you’re like most people, you probably have a smartphone on you. It’s a great tool for recording the damage on the spot.
  • Look for eyewitnesses. Even for a minor accident, eyewitnesses are a great resource that can help your case. If a witness consents, take down their contact information and their brief statement. It can help inform the police report and how your insurance companies deal with the claim.
  • Notify your insurance company immediately.
  • In some states, you might be required to report the minor accident to the DMV. Contact your local DMV to find out if this is the case for you.

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It’s illegal to drive without car insurance. If you have a less-than-perfect driving record, have been in a few minor car accidents already, or if you have an SR22, you can still get cheap auto insurance thanks to SaveALot Auto.

All you have to do is enter your zip code and get an instant quote now.

4 Important Questions to Ask About Totaled Cars

A totaled car isn’t just a devastating experience. It can also be a complicated process. It’s perfectly normal—and expected—to have lots of questions about how the process works, how to deal with your auto insurance provider, and beyond.

First, it’s important to make sure you understand exactly what a totaled car is. To put it simply, it’s when it’s determined to be a “total loss,” or it would cost more to repair the car than the car is worth. Read this for more information on what a totaled car is.

Then check out these common questions (and answers!) on totaled cars. We hope you never have to undergo this experience—but it’s always best to be prepared.

1) How common is “total loss”?

A totaled car, or a car determined to be a “total loss,” is more common than you might think. According to CCC Information Services lead analyst Susanna Gotsch, 14.24% of all vehicle appraisals in 2013 were determined to be a total loss.

2) Who decides if my car is totaled?

Both your insurance provider and your state’s laws determine whether your car is totaled or not. Be sure to be aware of both your insurance coverage and how your state defines total loss.

3) What is the worth of my totaled car?

Your insurance provider bases this off of the market value of your car right before the accident. It’s determined by type of car, mileage, condition, standard features, extra features, and where you live.

If you want to figure out what your car’s market value was before the accident on your own, you have a couple of options. You can use websites like Kelly Blue Book to look up a typical market value of a car like yours or you can get another estimate from an appraiser.

4) What is gap insurance and how does it work? Do I need gap insurance?

Gap insurance is important to be aware of. If necessary, gap insurance can cover the difference between what your car is worth and the balance you owe on it. If you’re financing or leasing a car, gap insurance could be helpful for you—especially if you are less than halfway through an auto loan. If you own your car or if you owe less on the loan than the car is worth, gap insurance isn’t necessary.

If you have a totaled car and you are in the first half of financing or leasing a car, you could still owe money on a loan—for the same wrecked car. That’s where gap insurance can come in handy.

Any questions? Contact SaveALot Auto today

To learn more about how a totaled car could affect you, feel free to contact the auto insurance experts at SaveALot Auto today. Check out our FAQ for more answers to common questions.

What to Do in a Minor Car Accident

Most accidents are fender benders where no one is injured – but these kinds of accidents can cause almost as much stress as a ten-car pileup if you think you may be at fault.  Take these steps after an accident to ensure that all parties involved are held responsible, and to ensure that filing your claim goes smoothly and easily.

The first thing to do is make sure everyone is safe.  Before you start asking for information or laying blame on anyone, you must assess the situation and call 9-1-1 if anyone is injured.  In most accidents, the cars will be more damaged than the drivers and passengers.  Once you and the other driver have determined that this is the case with your own fender bender, use the following checklist:

What to do in a minor accident:

  1. Move off the road to a place you agree upon (i.e. the shoulder or the nearest parking lot).  If your car is drivable and conditions are safe, you should clear the lane for traffic.  Note the license plate number of the other car before you move (in case he decides to keep moving!).  If moving the vehicles is impossible or unsafe, use your four-way flashers and any flares you may have to prevent other cars from hitting the disabled vehicles.
  2. Exit your vehicle and get the other driver’s contact information.
  3. Write down the other driver’s vehicle information and a description of the visible damage to the vehicles.
  4. Write down any conditions that may have affected the accident, such as fog, heavy rain, road construction, etc.
  5. Most important to your information gathering is the other driver’s insurance and license information.  Write this down, including his or her policy number.  If it is determined that you are not responsible for the accident, you will need this information.
  6. If there is contention about what went on in the accident, or if someone was in obvious violation of the law and this led to the accident, call the police to submit a report.  No matter who decides the police need to be called, the other driver must remain on the scene until they show up.
  7. If you have a camera or cell phone with you, take photos of the damage, skid marks, and other “evidence” at the scene.
  8. Do not admit fault.  Your insurance representatives will review your information, the vehicle damage, and any police reports to determine who is at fault.
  9. When you get home, call your insurance agent to make a claim.  He or she will walk you through the claims process.

Some rules for the road:

  • Keep a notepad in your car – otherwise you will have no way to record any accident information!
  • Never leave the scene of an accident without gathering the required information for processing a claim.  If you hit a car you will almost certainly be frightened, but leaving the scene will only make things worse for you in the end.
  • Be honest with your insurance agent.  To do otherwise may cause delays in the payment of your claim.

This information is brought to you courtesy of SaveALot Auto Insurance, leaders in low-cost Chicago and Illinois auto insurance.

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