Being involved in a car accident is a frightening experience, but the next steps you take can have a critical impact on the final outcome of the situation. In order for an insurance company to offer you an adequate settlement to cover medical expenses and vehicle damage, you must provide them with several things. Here's what to give a car insurance company following a car accident.
1. A Copy of the Police Report
At the scene of the accident, the police will question you about what happened when they arrive. Recount what you remember about the accident, without admitting fault to law enforcement officers on the scene. Obtain the name of the officer you spoke with and a number you can call to check on the status of the report. It may take several days or more for the report to become available, but when it does, secure one copy for yourself and one copy for the insurance company.
2. Copies of Your Medical Records & Expenses
Keeping copies of all your medical records and expenses related to your accident is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that you get a settlement that will cover everything. Provide the insurance company with all records of expenses, including doctor co-pays, bills, and even medication expenses. Be sure to keep copies of everything for yourself as well, and keep them in a safe place. File them in order by the date of service to keep everything easy to locate.
3. A Secondary Quote for Vehicle Repairs
Insurance companies have the right to use a mechanic or auto body shop of their choice when paying for your vehicle repairs. However, it's possible that you may receive a quote that is lower than the actual cost of the repairs. To make sure this doesn't happen, take your car to a reputable mechanic of your choice and have them provide an alternate quote for the repairs. Submit this quote to the insurance company for comparison against the quote that their mechanic provided. Chances are, they'll be very similar. In case they're not, you have a record that can be used to ensure that the insurance company has the most accurate costs for repair.
4. Photos of the Accident
Insurance companies rely heavily on photos of the accident, in conjunction with the police report, in order to determine what happened. Although you'll likely have an insurance agent visit you to assess your vehicle damage in person, photos of the vehicle at the scene are vital. When taking photos of the damage to your vehicle, try to get several different angles. Take photos from far away to show the location of your car, and also take close up photos to document the extent of the damage in each area. Make two copies of each photo -- one for your own records and one for the insurance company. You can mail the photos in according to the insurance company's policies, or you may be able to provide them to the insurance agent that visits you.
Ensuring you have the best possible documentation following a car accident is key to obtaining an adequate settlement from an insurance company. Whether your insurance is covering the costs of your repairs or the other driver was at fault and you're working with their insurance company, it's critical that you provide the insurance company with what it needs to correctly assess the damages that resulted from the accident and how much compensation is needed to cover medical expenses, vehicle damage, and other related expenses in full. These documents may also come in handy if another person was at fault for the accident and you decide to pursue a personal injury claim with the help of a car accident attorney.
For more information, contact your local auto insurance company.