February 23, 2011

When A Company Expects A Driver Will Report To Them After An Accident

Every driver on the road is required to put themselves through the complications and costs of car insurance; they've gone through the trouble of comparing auto insurance quotes, they've selected coverage, and they've paid their regular insurance bills. Many of these drivers, at some point in their time on the road, will be involved in an accident. Regardless of what particular brand of auto insurance coverage a driver might have, their insurance companies expect them to be in contact immediately after the accident and its direct proceedings have taken place. Calls will be answered every hour of every day.

Why is important for an accident to be reported as soon as possible? Most importantly, it makes the insurance company's job easier. When settling payments between insurers, each company uses the accident reports to determine causation. Simply defined, causation is the ultimate source of the damages or injuries sustained. Like lawyers, an insurer has to make a case for their claims. Any delays in the report makes the details reported by the driver seem less valid. Even if someone is hoping to only receive compensation from his or her own insurance company, reporting an accident quickly is important. The same principles of suspect information apply to damages and injuries. This could also help reduce future auto insurance quotes.

After an accident happens, drivers should capture as much detail about the incident as possible. Apart from getting the other driver's or drivers' insurance information, they should make note of everything, from the names and contact information of witnesses (who the insurer will contact) and police officers on the scene, to time of day, weather conditions, traffic information, visibility, and the condition of the vehicles in question. Likewise, they should try to write down their narrative of the accident. Photographs of the accident, damages to their motor vehicle, and injuries are also helpful. All this information will eventually find its way to the insurer during the reporting and investigation process. Many insurers now provide an accident checklist on their policy documents to help drivers through their information-gathering process, but the particulars of what companies expect in the event of an accident are available in the "conditions" section of an insurance policy.

With the accident's details fresh in their mind, drivers should also have their policy on hand, so that there are no misunderstandings about what auto insurance coverage or exclusions are concerned. An accident seems minor, like it may have been the driver in question's fault; it may seem unwise to contact an insurer and risk significantly higher rates. However, it is always a driver's responsibility to promptly report accidents to their insurance company.