Auto Insurance Faqs: Accidents Happen

By: Amy Danise
With over 6 million auto accidents per year in the United States alone, there's a good chance that you or someone close to you will be involved in an auto accident at some point. Having auto insurance is a great way to be prepared for an auto accident. When shopping for auto insurance, it's important to look at auto insurance rates and quotes and do some comparing. Knowing how to proceed in the event of an auto accident can save you time, money, and headaches, especially if your car is damaged.

Q: What should I do if I've just had an auto accident?

A: Assuming there are no injuries, here's a checklist of how to proceed:

1.Call 911 to report the auto accident. You'll want a copy of a police report for any future claim, especially if the accident was not your fault. If the damage is minor and the other driver wants to negotiate a settlement on the spot, be wary: You could have unseen damage. 2.Don't bother engaging the other driver in an argument about who was at fault - the police will handle that. 3.Write down the other driver's name and insurance information. 4.If you have a camera in your car, get some shots of the damage and general accident scene. 5When you get home, call your auto insurance company to report the accident if there will be a claim on your policy. If the other driver was at fault and you don't live in a "no-fault" state, contact their auto insurance company to start the claims process.

Whether the car damage is minor or extensive, your main goal is to get enough information in order to protect your best interests later. And remember that honesty is the best policy in reporting the circumstances of the auto accident.

Q: What coverage pays for damage to my car?

A: If you're at fault in an auto accident (whether you've crashed into someone else or into a fence), you'll need collision coverage if you want your repairs covered. If you don't have collision coverage, you'll need to pay for repairs out of your own pocket. Some drivers drop collision coverage when their cars get older because the potential cost of fixing them is more than the value of the cars.

If someone else crashes into you, their liability auto insurance must pay for repairs to your vehicle. This is called a "third-party" claim because you're making a claim on their auto insurance company.

If you live in a "no-fault" state, you always make a claim on your own policy no matter who is at fault.

Q: Do I have to use my auto insurer's body shop for repairs?

A: No, you can never be forced to use a repair shop that your auto insurance company designates. However, you may find it's more convenient to do so. Many auto insurance companies have customer service programs that streamline your claim process by handling paperwork and your rental car from the repair shop and fully guaranteeing the work.

You can never be too prepared when it comes to an auto accident. Hopefully, these FAQ's have given you some helpful advice and information if you or someone you know has to face this situation in the near future. Auto insurance companies are there to help you sort through the car damage and remove some of the headaches and worries for you. Auto accidents aren't something that we like to think about, but thinking ahead will help you and your auto rates in the long run.
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