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3: Analyze Your Circumstances

What to Do After an Accident

Car crashPrepare yourself in case of an accident by keeping the following in your car or stored in your mobile phone: 
  • Registration, auto insurance and roadside assistance information.
  • Your and your family’s medical information (allergies, blood types) in case you cannot answer questions at the scene of an accident.
  • Pen and paper to take notes. Keep your smartphone charged and take pictures of damage, license plates and insurance information of others involved in the accident.

After the Accident

  • Pull over to a safe area to see if there are injuries and assess the damage. Never leave the scene. If you hit a parked vehicle, leave as much information you can about what happened and how to contact you.
  • Turn the engine off and set the parking brake. Turn on your hazard lights or set up warning triangles, even in the daytime.
  • Do not discuss who is at fault or how much insurance you have. Just stick to task of collecting information.
  • Call 911, especially if there are injuries. Even minor fender benders can cause injuries, so ask for medical assistance if you have any doubts.
    • If the police come to the scene, collect all relevant information about who is at the scene, badge numbers, etc. Ask for an accident report.
    • If the police cannot come to the scene, file an accident report with them at their station or online. Your insurance company will want such a report.
  • Collect all the information you can. Use your phone to take pictures or video of the scene, and write down information about the scene, including:
    • Name and contact information for all parties.
    • Driver’s license numbers.
    • Registration, license plate numbers, makes and models of all vehicles involved.
    • Location, time of day and weather conditions for the scene.
  • Make your claim with your insurance company as soon as you can after the accident.

Watch this video from the Insurance Information Institute (III) to learn about what to do after an auto accident. Click here to watch on YouTube.


Source: This video is content of the copyright holder. Any reference to a specific company, commercial product, process or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation by Smart About Money.

Wreck Check Mobile App

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has a free mobile app you can download to walk you through what to do after an accident. Download the app for iPhone or Android.

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