Fender Bender Protocol in 5 Steps
Call the police.
Call the police to report the accident and any injuries. When possible, call a non-emergency police phone number. The police may send out an officer or will direct you to the nearest station to file a report. In most cases, a police officer will review the scene of a reported accident and document his or her observations about the accident and the drivers. Always get a copy of the report.
Get to a safe place.
In most states, it is required by law to stop after a collision. So, get out of any driving lanes and over to the side of the road as soon as you can. Get your car off the road completely, if possible. You’re looking for a safe spot where you and the other driver can get out of your vehicles to exchange information and assess damage. If you are unable to move your car or don’t feel that it’s safe, stay in your car with your seat belt fastened. Finally, protect your car from further damage. Turn on your hazard lights or set up cones or flares to alert other drivers to your position.
Look for eyewitnesses.
Check to see if anyone witnessed the collision. This may be one of the smartest things you can do in a fender bender. Unbiased viewers can help settle any disputes or arguments between the involved drivers. Record the person’s name, address and phone number in case the police or insurer requests more information or to cover yourself legally.
Exchange information with the other driver.
Exchange information and take notes. Share insurance, contact, and vehicle information…especially if the police do not arrive on the scene. Write down the driver’s name, address, phone number, insurance company, insurance policy number and license plate number. Or, photograph their driver’s license and insurance card directly for accuracy. Do these things quickly, in case the other driver has second thoughts. Then, take pictures of the cars and the damage. Your insurance company may ask for these photos to detect fault and to understand how the fender bender occurred. If possible, take close-up pictures of each vehicle and even photos of the road if skid marks are present. Write down notes of accident details. These details are particularly important when the other person is at fault! If you notice any inconsistencies or suspect fraud, make note. The more information you gather, the better off you will be.
Report the accident.
Now comes the reporting. Some states or jurisdictions require that you file an accident report with the DMV within 48-72 hours of the fender bender. For those states that require a report, most have online submission forms. So, be sure to report the collision with the proper authorities to avoid a fine! Then, call your insurance agent as soon as possible, regardless of who's at fault. Your agent will ask a few questions, explain what your policy covers and what deductible you'll have to pay. Finally, you’ll have to fill out a claims form.
Fender Bender Cost
The total cost of a fender bender will depend on a few things:
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We hope to have given you some practical, money-saving ideas for dealing with a fender bender. We also hope to have pointed you in the right direction for your legal responsibilities for reporting a fender bender.
This article is not intended to serve as legal advice. Get All Parts assumes no liability for the content.
Reference Sources: Insurance Information Institute: Filing an Auto Insurance Claim 5 Steps.