What to Do After an Auto Accident: Before Contacting Auto Insurance Steps Drivers Should Take

Getting into an auto accident is on par with the most nerve-wracking life events a person can experience.

With all the commotion, it can become difficult to remember how to approach the auto accident and exactly what information the driver needs to collect before contacting his or her auto insurance and filing a claim.

Auto Accident Survival: First Steps

The shock of a vehicle strike can be very frightening and confusing. The first step the driver should take is to sit back for a moment, take a couple of deep breaths, and regain composure. The driver should then

  • calmly step out of the car
  • look up at the street signs and determine the location of the auto accident
  • write down the location of the accident and the nearest major intersection

Auto Accident Survival: Determining Damage and Injuries

After ascertaining the location of the auto accident, the driver should observe the other cars and drivers involved in the accident:

  • if injuries are severe to the point of requiring medical attention, he or she should call 911 immediately or flag down help from passers by
  • inspect car for damage
  • snap digital pictures of the accident scene and damage to cars

Auto Accident Survival: Exchanging Auto Insurance and Personal Contact Information

If driver and/or passengers do not require medical attention, the next step is to exchange auto insurance and personal contact information with the other driver:

  • address, phone number, and e-mail address
  • name of other driver’s auto insurance company along with contact information
  • color, make, model, and license plate number
  • vehicle identification number (VIN) located on the bottom of the driver’s side windshield

Unless the accident is a very minor scratch, ding, or dent and the car is old anyway, it is a good idea to call the police out to the scene of the accident to file a legal accident report.

Auto Accident Survival: Filing an Auto Insurance Claim

As soon as possible, the driver should contact his or her auto insurance to file a claim. Typically this is done by phone. The driver can even file the claim at the scene of the accident; and if a police officer is present, the officer can speak to the auto insurance as well and clarify if necessary.

Auto Accident Survival: Tips for Being Prepared for an Auto Accident

Though most drivers do not often find themselves in an auto accident, they should still take the following measures to be prepared should an auto accident occur:

  • keep a copy of the Auto Accident Hot Sheet Checklist in glove compartment
  • keep an auto insurance information card in both glove compartment and wallet
  • keep two pens and a pad of paper in glove compartment at all times.

Auto Accident Survival: Bottom Line

It’s only natural to feel safe driving one’s car down the highway. That’s why it’s such a major shock to hear the dreaded crumple of metal and shattering of glass.

Thus it is highly important to be prepared so the driver knows exactly what steps to take such as determining damage and personal injury, exchanging auto insurance information with the other driver, and filing an auto insurance claim in the unfortunate case of an auto accident.


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