Whether you were in a fender bender or totaled your car, getting into a car accident is scary. Even the most defensive and cautious drivers can be involved in an accident. Remember that we are sharing the road with other drivers who might have different driving habits. An accident may or may not even be your fault.
No matter the reasons - weather and road conditions, reckless driving, hitting an animal, or something unforseen - you should be prepared for any possibility. Here we outline steps to help guide you through important decisions you need to make if you've been in a car accident.
Step 1: Safety First
- If the car accident is minor, move the vehicles out of traffic to a safe place.
- Shift into park, turn off your vehicle, and turn on the hazard lights.
- Use cones, warning triangles, or flares for added safety, if available.
Step 2: Get Help
- Check for injuries: If you or your passengers are injured, call 911 or get someone to do so.
- Call the police: call them even if the accident is minor. A police report is invaluable to the claims process and can establish who is at fault.
Step 3: Collect Information
Gather the following information from others involved in the accident:
- Drivers and passengers: their names and contact information
- Vehicle descriptions (year, make, model)
- Driver's license numbers
- License plate numbers
- Insurance companies and policy numbers
Be polite. Do NOT tell anyone the accident was your fault, even if you think it was. When you file the insurance claim, the adjuster reviewing your claim will determine who is at fault based on an inspection of the vehicles/property damaged, information provided by you and the other parties involved in the accident, and any supporting documentation, like the police report or photographs from the scene.
Step 4: Document the Accident
In order to protect yourself, take the following steps:
- Identify the police officers. Get the name and badge number of all responding officers.
- Get a copy of the police report. Ask the officers where you can get a copy. Your insurer may ask for a copy of the report when you file a car insurance claim.
- Take photos of all vehicles involved and the accident scene, if safe to do so.
- Take down names and addresses of all parties involved, including any passengers in the other vehicle.
- Talk to any witnesses. If there are any witnesses, get their names and their contact information.
Do NOT sign any document unless it is for the police or your insurance agent!
Step 5: File A Claim
- Call us as soon as possible at (845) 724-3031 to report the accident. We will take down your accident information and report it to the insurance company. After it is processed by the insurance company, you will receive a call from the adjuster assigned to your claim.
- Fill out a claim form and we get in touch with your immediately to discuss.
- You can also call your insurance company directly to report the claim. Here is the page for Company Links.
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Dutchess County NY residents, at Pepe Insurance Agency, we work with you to make sure you have the coverage you need, while delivering it at the best price. Give us a call at (845) 724-3031 or fill out our Contact Us form to get in touch with an agent. We want to make sure you meet your insurance goals and protect what is most important to you!
Written by Pepe Insurance