Monday, September 26, 2011

What to do: Car Accident

Oh no, terrible feelings are usually tied to car accidents.  Our minds just don't think clearly when we are squished into another car.  And it just feels like no car accident comes at the right time.

I have researched this brain tangling problem & come up with some helpful tips.
  • This seems trivial but try to think clearly.  Take a few deep breaths and wrap your brain around what happened before hopping out of your car and being confronted with the opposing driver.
  • Determine the extent of damage or injuries:  anyone need immediate medical attention?
  • Try to file an accident report with the police. Even if it's just a fender bender & do not leave the scene until police file full report.  Please note:  if in Texas the police will not come to the scene if both cars are drivable and no one is injured, unless they see it happen (which happened to me)
    • Something I wish I had done: gotten the police officers names, district numbers and badge numbers.  They told me the other driver was at fault but couldn't file a report and then left...guess who ended up paying: me
  • Get the facts:  write down your interpretation of what happened at the accident.  Then get names, addresses, phone numbers of EVERYONE involved in the accident (passengers, drivers, passerby-ers that stopped), description of cars and license plate numbers, insurance company (make sure their insurance is not expired), company number and VIN # of car(s) involved.
  • Call your insurance agent as soon as possible, even at the scene.  There is usually a 1-800 number you can call 24/7.  
Sometimes people are hoping that the insurance companies will pay top dollar to help repair their car.  This, sadly, is usually not the case.  Total Loss has a slim-to-none  likelihood of happening to you.  The definition of a totaled car is when the cost to fix is more than the value of their car.  To consider the value of your car your insurance company will asses pre-loss condition + options (stereos, Ltd edition, sunroof, etc) + mileage.  

Here are some useful websites for your review: Texas Drivers Handbook & Car Accident Checklist

If you're car isn't totally paid off yet, this is where Gap Insurance comes in handy.

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