When involved in an accident, follow the below guidelines to assure a seemless process as you go about the steps of repairing your damaged car.
Stop your vehicle immediately. Write the license plate number of the other vehicle.
Show your driver's license and registration to the other driver and to any police officer.
If anyone is seriously injured, call an ambulance. You should see a doctor if you feel you were injured in any way.
Report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles as soon as possible.
Write a complete description of the accident as soon as possible. Doing this immediately will help keep the accident details fresh in your mind. Use the accident record to help you gather important information.
Notify your insurance company, even if the claim appears small and there are apparent injuries. Settling the claim yourself is dangerous. Follow all prescribed procedures when reporting an accident to you insurance company.
Be aware of the "Appraisal Clause" in your insurance policy. If the insurance company and the body shop cannot agree on what the repairs should cost, this could provide a means for fair settlement.
Have even minor damage repaired. Letting your car go unrepaired can cost you in the long run. Dents and rust spots deduct from the resale of trade-in value of your car. You will pay for it eventually, so drive a that's in first class condtion now.
Never discuss accident details or responsiblity with anyone.
Never discuess circumstances of the accident with anyone except the police and a representative of your insurance company.
Never agree to a phone recording or give a signed statement to the claims adjuster representing the other driver's insurance company. If your feel you're being pressured, you may wish to consult an attorney.
Never accept a check for the repair of your car until you're sure it covers all necessary repairs. YOu are the person who is responsible for having your car repaired to your satisfaction. Choosing a quality repair shop is important and you should not be rushed into a decision.
Please don't be fooled by a lower estimate. There is a big difference in body shops, and a low bid could reflect an incomplete job. When some items are overlooked on a repair, the consequences to the driver can be serious. Exercise your right to determine which shop will repair your car. Make sure every detail has been attended to and repaired to your satisfaction before signing any insurance company release.
Never allow your car to be towed to a repair shop you are not familiar with. Don't authorize repairs by signing a towing release unless you have decided to have your car repaired by the shop your car is being towed to. Make sure you and understand all papers before you sign them.