When you have a car accident, it is very stressful. It all happens so fast that it is easy to panic and not be ready to gather the information you need to file a claim. Don't add to the stress by not being ready. Take a few minutes to follow these basic steps, as suggested by Holt Proctor McBriarty Insurance Agency, to be sure that you are prepared and make the entire experience a lot easier.
Before a car accident happens, make sure you have the following items in your car:
1. A pen and paper: This sounds basic, but if you don't have anything to write with, it is very difficult to exchange information. You may be able to take down information on your smartphone, but maybe you won't have it with you, the batteries are dead or it is damaged in the accident. It is also amazing how much your hands can shake after a stressful situation, which may render your smart-phone very difficult to use.
2. An insurance ID card: An ID card is sent to you each time your policy renews. Make sure you remove the old ID card and replace it with the new one each time your policy renews. It will show your name, insurance company and vehicle information. This card may also be requested by a responding police officer. Though insurance is not mandatory in New Hampshire, it is in some of our surrounding states like Massachusetts. If you can not produce an insurance ID card while driving in Mass, you may be subject to a fine or impounding of your vehicle until you can produce one.
3. A shovel, spare gloves and hat in the winter: Living in NH means that we spend half the year driving through unpredictable weather. You may be driving alone at night and a deer runs out in front of you. If you skid off the road, you could be stuck for a while as many pockets of NH do not have cell service. Don't add to the stress by not having at least a hat and gloves to keep you warm while you wait for help. Maybe a portable shovel is all you need to free yourself from a costly tow.
After a car accident, follow these steps if possible:
1. Make sure you and your passengers are not injured. If not, call 911 immediately.
2. Move as far off the road as possible, but stay close to the scene of the accident. Be sure to put on your hazard lights to warn oncoming traffic that you are there. Never stand in front of or behind your vehicle in case it is hit from behind by another vehicle. If there is a jersey barrier, stand behind this to exchange information, assuming it is safe to do so.
3. Stay calm regardless of who is at fault. You do not want to add to the stress by getting into an argument with anyone. It will only make the situation much worse. If the other person involved in the accident is aggressive, call 911 immediately. If the other party begins to leave the scene be sure to get as much information about their vehicle as possible with the most important information being the plate number and vehicle type and color.
4. Call 911 or the appropriate emergency number to report the accident.
5. Do not admit fault. To protect yourself legally, do not discuss the accident with anyone besides the police or your insurance agent/company.
6.Exchange vital information with the other driver involved in the accident. Most of the information can be found on the insurance ID card. If they do not have one, be sure to name, address and license number of the vehicle owners, drivers and any witnesses. Try to get the name of the insurance company and policy number from all drivers as well. To help you get all the information you need to gather at the scene, link to the Holt Proctor McBriarty Accident Info Exchange Form.
7. Contact your insurance company/agency and report the claim as soon as possible. The quicker this can be done, the faster that they can work for you to settle the claim. If it is after agency hours, most insurance companies have a 24-hour claim phone number. For Holt Proctor McBriarty Insurance Agency clients, click HERE to link to a list of our company's phone numbers.
If you need any help with your claim, contact your insurance agent. When you have an insurance agency like Holt Proctor McBriarty Insurance Agency in Milford NH, you are never alone to deal with the stress of a claim by yourself.