Being in an accident can be a stressful experience. If you are lucky, the other driver will get out of their car and apologize for causing the accident. But if they don’t want to take responsibility, you may need to go through some steps before getting your insurance company involved.
It’s essential that you follow these guidelines after an accident so that you avoid being ripped off by your insurance company!
Know the Limits of Your Coverage
The first step is to know your insurance policy and what it will cover. You should consult with a lawyer or the state’s insurance department if you have any questions about coverage limits.
For example, some policies don’t include rental car coverage unless an accident involves more than $500 in damage. If you had your car at the time of an accident, your policy might not cover you if it’s more than $500 in damage. So you could be on the hook for paying out of pocket to rent a car! You need to know what is covered under your insurance plan before renting or buying another vehicle after an accident
Get an Attorney
If you’re confused about what your policy will or won’t cover, then it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney. Some attorneys offer free consultations where they can explain how the law applies to your case and determine whether you have any legal remedies available to you after an accident. A personal injury lawyer will help you understand how your insurance company works and what their interests are. You can rest assured that they have the experience needed to protect your rights after an accident!
For example, if someone rear-ended you and the damage was only $500, you may think it’s not worth hiring an attorney. But if the other driver did not have insurance or your policy doesn’t cover rental car coverage, then you could be on the hook for hundreds of dollars in bills after an accident!
Check Your Deductible Before Signing Up for Another Vehicle
A deductible is an amount that you owe before your insurance company starts to cover damages. If you have a $500 deductible and more than $500 in damage, you may be responsible for paying out of pocket until your deductible has been met. Being aware of how much your deductibles are can help ensure that you don’t end up with a massive bill after an accident.
You should also know how your deductible works before you sign on for another vehicle. For example, if the other party were at fault and caused all of the damage to your car (i.e., comprehensive or collision), then you wouldn’t need to worry about deductibles! But what if you were both at fault? Then your deductible would apply. Ensure that you know what’s covered under comprehensive coverage before signing up for an additional vehicle or driving it off the lot!
Get a Police Report if You’re in an Accident
Having a police report can help protect your rights after an accident. A police officer’s job is to establish the facts of what happened, determine fault and make sure that everyone involved has insurance coverage if needed. But even if you don’t have a police report, it doesn’t mean there isn’t any legal remedy available for you! This will be an ideal situation to consult with an attorney if you have any questions.
For example, your car may not include rental car coverage because there wasn’t enough damage caused by an accident (i.e., under $500 in damages). But maybe after repairing your vehicle and paying for a rental for two weeks, it cost more than your deductible. In this case, you may be able to file a claim against the other party’s insurance company! So make sure that you know your rights before signing up for additional coverage or driving off of the lot after an accident!
Make Sure All Information is Correct on Your Policy
Your insurance company only cares about covering you for as little money as possible. So make sure that all of the information your agent provides is accurate! Otherwise, they might not protect you when you need it most – especially if there are inaccuracies on your policy or application form.
For example, if you’re a male under 25 years old and apply for insurance with the name Joe Smith, but your real name is Jane Doe, then your agent might think that you lied on your application. That could result in you being denied coverage at best or having to pay higher rates than necessary! So make sure all of the information on your policy is correct to avoid issues like this.
Also see: 5 Tips for Finding the Right Car Insurance Agency for You
Read Through the Fine Print for Any Hidden Clauses or Exceptions
Oftentimes, insurance companies will try to slip in clauses that you’re unaware of. So make sure that you read through the entire contract and understand all of its terms before signing on a dotted line! This is especially important for anyone new to purchasing their policy or hasn’t been insured by this company for very long.
For example, maybe you’ve had your current insurance policy for several years but recently got married. The underwriter might assume that the other driver was at fault because two cars were involved in an accident instead of just yours! So make sure to pay attention to every detail before signing on the dotted line so that you don’t get any nasty surprises after an accident!
Remember to Update Insurance Policies When Life Changes Occur
Your insurance needs will change over time with different life events like moving, getting married, or having children. Make sure that you contact your agent when these changes occur so they can make any necessary adjustments to ensure you’re adequately covered in the future!
For example, maybe after having a baby and buying a minivan, it’s no longer cost-effective to have a high-risk auto insurance policy covering theft, vandalism, and other risks. In this case, you’ll want to switch over to an SR22 or add your new car with another driver since there’s now more than one person in the household!
Be sure to pay attention to any red flags on your policy and ask questions if anything is unclear. Also, it is essential to read through your insurance contract carefully to understand how it works. Finally, make sure that you contact your agent when life events change so they can update the policy accordingly! This will ensure you avoid being ripped off by an insurance company after an accident!