Do You Know What Steps
To Take If You’re In An
Accident? PIANJ Offers Advice
TRENTON, N.J.—If you’ve ever been in an accident, you know things can be chaotic immediately after a crash, but following some basic steps can make filing a claim a little easier says the Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey.
First and foremost, if someone is injured, call 911, said Lloyd ‘Rip’ Bush, CPIA, PIANJ president. “Think about your safety and those around you first. Stay calm; being in a car accident is scary but getting upset can make things worse.”
Before gathering information from the other driver, it’s important to make sure you’re safe, advises PIANJ. If you had a minor fender bender, you don’t have to leave the cars where they are. Move out of the way of traffic as quickly as possible. If you can’t move your car without causing further damage, don’t try.
It’s important to get the following information of the people involved:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Make, model and year of the car
- License plate number
- Insurance carrier
- Insurance policy number
If possible, take photos of the damage to your vehicle; accident location and the vehicles and people involved in the accident.
If possible, write down a brief description of the accident while you are waiting for the police. During this stressful time it is easy to forget the details when trying to recall the event later on.
If the police have been called, ask the officer for a copy of the accident report. It may take a couple of days before it is filed. The policeman’s opinion of the accident will be useful if the drivers have a dispute about who was to blame. The police report also will have the officer’s information on it in case he or she is needed to testify. Neither the other driver nor the police will need your Social Security number, so don’t give this private information to anyone, says PIANJ
“Call your independent insurance agent immediately after a crash to start processing your claim,” advises Bush. “Professional, independent agents always are there for their customers to guide them through the claims process.”
Be prepared before an accident occurs
“It’s important to make sure that your automobile is insured properly before an incident,” says Bush. Being prepared can prevent stress after an accident and provide financial security, no matter how it happened. Keep a copy of your insurance information and a pen and paper in your car; it will make the post-accident process much easier.
“You are required to have proof of your insurance with you, and insurers provide cards or electronic evidence that carry all of your relevant insurance information,” Bush said.
Working with a Professional Insurance Agent offers you a choice of insurance products from a variety of carriers; shops for the best insurance coverage for you; gives knowledgeable and objective advice on complex insurance decisions; and lives in your community and supports local efforts. Look for the PIA logo to find a professional, independent insurance agent.
PIANJ is a trade association representing professional, independent insurance agencies, brokerages and their employees throughout the state.