After an automobile accident, there’s a lot that will probably be on your mind. Contacting your insurance agent to tell them about the accident might just be the last thing on your mind when you’re worried about your health, the other driver, your passengers, your car, how you’ll get to work in the morning, and a million other things.
First thing first, you’ll want to:
Verify that you & your passengers are safe—if there are any injuries, be sure to call 911 for emergency medical aid;
Contact the other driver to collect their information (including name, address, date of birth, phone number/email, and insurance policy) and the vehicle owner’s info;
Contact medical services and the police to make sure injuries are treated and to get a police report filed for the accident; and
If available, use a camera/camera-enabled phone to take pictures of the accident scene.
Contacting your insurance agent might not be a top priority for you after an accident, but you will want to talk to your agent sooner or later to ask them a few important questions, including:
What Will My Insurance Cover, Exactly?
In the state of Florida, there are certain minimum insurance coverages that every driver is required to have. Ideally, you should know what your insurance policy will and won’t cover before you settle on a particular insurer. However, the circumstances of an accident might leave it hard for you to be certain of what the insurer will cover.
So, after an auto accident, it’s important to check with your insurance agent to see exactly what your insurance company will cover.
You should be prepared to give a full accounting of all damages suffered in the accident—both to the car and to you and your passengers. Having photos of the accident scene and your vehicle immediately after the accident can help with this.
While your insurance agent might not be an adjuster, giving the agent more evidence and objective information will help them know just how much of the damage your insurance company will cover—with or without insurance coverage from the other driver.
This question is especially important if you’re in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver who might not be able to pay for damages. Adding uninsured motorist coverage can help protect against this eventuality, but it needs to be on the policy before the accident occurs.
How Will This Accident Affect My Insurance Coverage?
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, your auto insurance rates may be affected. Factors that might affect your insurance include:
Number of accidents on your record
Type of claim (property or bodily injury)
Your insurer’s policy
Contacting your insurance agent can help you better understand how a claim might affect your insurance rates because they’ll have more insight into the insurer’s policies.
In some cases, an insurer may even choose to refuse to renew your insurance altogether. This typically happens only when there are numerous traffic violations on your record, or you have too many claims—making you a high risk client to insure. In such cases, the insurer is required to notify you before your policy is discontinued so you have time to find another insurer.
What Should I Do Next?
Your insurance agent should be able to give you an idea of what to do next after an accident.
For example, they can walk you through what evidence you may need to collect, put you in contact with an insurance adjuster to assess damage to your vehicle, forward you to an insurance-approved auto mechanic/body shop, or provide other useful advice regarding what you can do about your insurance.
It is our sincere hope that whoever reads this is never involved in an accident. However, if you do find yourself in an auto accident, try to remain calm, make sure that no one is injured (or that any injured persons are given prompt treatment), cooperate with authorities, and don’t admit fault until you’ve had a chance to consult your attorney.
By remaining calm, you can make the most of an unpleasant event, and get some important answers that can help make the next steps easier.