What to do and who to call after a car accident

Published: May. 8, 2017 at 10:27 AM EDT
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Monday, May 8, 2017

(WRDW/WAGT) – Nobody thinks it will happen to them until it does. Suddenly, crash. Your car is banged up and you might be as well. In the moments following an accident, it may be hard to think and process what you should do. We’re On Your Side with what you should do and who you should call if you’re ever involved in a car accident.

Who do I contact?

You should contact the following people, in this order, following a car accident:

- Police (and EMS if there are injuries),

dial 911.

- Insurance Company, Report a Claim. You can find numbers to most major insurance companies in the Related Info box on this article.

- Family

Be prepared, it can happen to anyone.

Insurance company GEICO recommends that everyone follow this advice to be proactive, rather than reactive, if you should be involved in an accident.

- Keep a vehicle safety kit in your car. This includes a tow rope, flares, and a first-aid kit. It may also be good to keep a disposable camera handy.

- Put your most important info in the glove box such as ID cards, vehicle registration, emergency contacts, health insurance cards, and vehicle insurance cards.

- Make sure your phone is charged, and keep a car charger in your car.

When and if it does happen, don’t stress.

Accidents are stressful for everyone involved, no matter if it is your fault or not. The best thing you can do is remain calm, take a deep breath, don’t freak out.

You should also never admit fault or your policy limits to anyone other than your insurance company.

Be polite, but never admit fault even if you think it was your fault.

If the accident is minor and the car is still drivable, make sure you move your car to a safe nearby location.

Be careful not to leave the scene.

If you cannot drive the car, request roadside assistance through your insurance company or contact a wrecking/towing company to come move your vehicle.

You should


leave the scene of an accident before police or other drivers involved do.

Check to see if there are any injuries involving you, your passengers, or the occupants of the other vehicle involved including the driver and its passengers. If anyone is hurt, call 911 for medical assistance.

Even if the accident is minor, you


contact the police, and they’ll let you know if an officer needs to be present to file an incident report or not.

Turn on your vehicle's hazard lights and use cones, warning triangles or flares for safety.

What information do you exchange?

According to GEICO, you should only exchange the following info to the insurance companies after an accident:

- Your Name, Phone Number, Address, and Email Address

- Names, Phone Numbers, Addresses, and Email Addresses of all occupants and witnesses

- Location

- Photos of the accident scene and all vehicles involved.

It is VERY important to take photos after an accident.

- Provide your insurance company name, policy number, and phone number to the other driver’s insurance company.

- Provide the police report number, phone number, officer name, badge number, etc. if emergency services respond.

Other Important Advice:

Make sure that you

do not

sign any document unless it’s for the police or your insurance agent.

Take pictures and make immediate notes about the accident including specific damages to your vehicle and the other vehicle, information from witnesses, etc.

If the name on an auto registration is different than the driver involved, make sure you jot down the relationship of the driver to the person on the registration.

Don’t discuss the accident with the other driver involved. State only facts and discuss the accident only to the police or your insurance agent.

Report a claim immediately with your insurance company.

Filing a Claim with Your Insurance Company:

You can file a claim online with most major insurance companies. To file a claim, use the dropdown menu below and find your insurance company. If you do not see your insurance company listed, contact your insurance company and find out what their claims process is.

It's important to remember that accidents happen, just make sure that you are safe out there and expect the unexpected while on the road.

Phone Numbers to Insurance Companies:

  • Allstate – 1-877-810-2920
  • American Family – 1-800-692-6326
  • Amica – 1-800-242-6422
  • Direct General - 1-877-463-4732
  • Esurance – 1-800-378-7262
  • Farmers – 1-888-327-6335
  • Geico – 1-800-861-8380
  • Liberty Mutual – 1-888-398-8924
  • Mercury – 1-800-503-3724
  • Nationwide – 1-877-669-6877
  • Progressive – 1-800-776-4737
  • SafeAuto – 1-800-723-3288
  • State Farm – 1-800-782-8332
  • The General – 1-866-519-7422
  • Travelers – 1-800-842-5075
  • USAA – 1-800-531-8722