If you’re involved in a car accident, your first thought isn’t about your insurance; it’s about making sure everyone is ok and calling 911. However, the second phone call you should make is to your insurance agent. Making that call can save you a tedious, costly process and could prevent legal action.
On the Scene
If possible, try to assess the accident scene to the best of your ability. While it’s your insurance company’s responsibility to fully investigate the accident, your insight and testimony as to what occurred are invaluable. Keeping the lines of communication open after an auto accident will help you, the other driver (if there is one), and your insurance company when the claim is being processed.
It’s also in your best interest to carefully review, or even have a lawyer examine, any documents given to you by your insurance company or the other driver’s insurer. In some instances, drivers have signed away their rights without realizing it. The consequences can lead to more paperwork, investigation and deliberations.
Equally important is the knowledge you have before an accident occurs. Being proactive about your policy prevents headaches. Some questions you should know answers to include:
Are you current on your premium payments?
Have you ever missed a payment date?
Have you recently adjusted your policy?
What conditions aren’t covered by your policy?
Is there unreported damage to your vehicle?
Knowing these facts, as well as your rights, is a smart way of avoiding a drawn-out claims process.
For instance, imagine that your car breaks down and cannot be repaired. You quickly purchase a car that day. If you’re involved in a collision after leaving the lot, your insurance company may try to deny this claim because it didn’t know about your new vehicle. However, there are lawful provisions that allow for 30 days to add or substitute vehicles on your policy. In the event that the insurance company refuses to honor that provision, it’s time to seek legal assistance and perhaps file a bad faith case.
At Dollar, Burns, Becker & Hershewe, we understand that a front-to-back knowledge of a car insurance policy isn’t at the forefront of your mind. We also know that communicating with an insurance company after an accident can be daunting. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our attorneys for advice, assistance or legal representation.