What to Do Before Your First Auto Insurance Claim

Not everyone will have to make an auto insurance claim during their lifetime, but some people will inevitably be involved in an accident, whether at their fault or another driver’s. If you are prepared you can make the process much simpler and the event much less traumatic. Here are just a few tips with some things you can do before you have an accident to lessen your risk and increase your ability to deal with one if it does happen.

Take a defensive driving class: The best time to take a defensive driving class is before you have an accident because these classes can actually teach you how to drive so that you avoid accidents altogether. As an added benefit, they can even help reduce your auto insurance premiums.

Buy auto insurance: This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s still got to go on the list. Before you start driving your car and exposing yourself to potential accidents, you must buy auto insurance. Without auto insurance, not only will you be out of compliance with your state auto insurance regulations, but you will also be exposing yourself to major potential losses following an accident. Without insurance to help you with these expenses, your personal assets are at risk and your future financial stability could be compromised.

Put a camera and insurance paperwork in your glove compartment: In order to make it easier to deal with proving fault and reporting an accident, put a disposable camera in your glove compartment along with a copy of your insurance card. This way you are prepared to take a picture to document the scene for your insurance company and you have your policy number and insurer contact information within reach. You can even give this copy of your card to another driver if you are at fault in an accident and need to exchange information. To make matters even easier, you can add a copy of your driver’s license and write your phone number on the paper.

Make sure all your lights work: Making sure your headlights, brake lights and directionals work will ensure that you are at a lower risk for accidents than you are when these notification lights don’t work.

Familiarize yourself with your insurer’s claim system: If you are involved in an accident, you may need to make a claim with your insurer. Each insurance company has its own claim system. Some allow online claims, some have convenient phone systems that send insurance adjustors to the scene of the accident, and others may have paper forms they require you to complete. Find out how your insurance company works before you have an accident so that you can follow the appropriate steps immediately after the accident.

Place a voice recorder or pen and paper in the car: Car accidents, no matter how minor, can be stressful. This often makes it difficult to remember exactly what happened a few hours after the accident is over. You should record your version of how the accident occurred as quickly and as safely possible after the accident. By putting a small voice recorder or pen and paper in the car you allow yourself the tools to record the events immediately after the accident. This will make filling out claims forms quicker and much more accurate. You can also collect information from witnesses on the scene if you have a voice recorder or writing implements.

Preparation for an event must happen in advance of the event. That means all of these items should be done before you have an accident in order to help you lessen your risk and make dealing with an accident easier.