If you are involved in an accident – be it in your vehicle or on your property – you will need to report it to your insurance company. Reporting an accident is the first step, and provides your insurance company with general information before any claims are filed.
Most people are a bit anxious when reporting an accident to their insurance company. It is always best to consult with an attorney before speaking with an insurance company. There are often many questions, and policy terminology may be complicated. We strongly advise against providing a recorded statement to ANY insurance company prior to consulting with an attorney.
To ease the process, here are some best practices to remember when reporting an accident:
Start With the Basics
Start the reporting process by giving the insurance company some necessary information. Examples include:
· Full name and contact information
· Policy number
· Location, date and time of the accident
· Driver’s license for all parties involved
· License plate number of any vehicles involved
· General description of the accident
What to Say and What Not to Say
When reporting an accident, it is best to stick to the facts and general information. Avoid giving too many details or offering an opinion about what happened. Never, ever suggest who may be at fault. Here are some tips for what to say and what not to say:
· Tell your insurance company if you are injured, but avoid giving details. Do not self-diagnose!
· Do not provide the insurance company any written or signed statement until you are sure what the documents mean. If you need help, contact an attorney.
· Only answer the questions that are asked and do so concisely. Do not volunteer information or elaborate.
· Always tell the truth.
· Avoid small talk or exaggeration.
· Do not accept a settlement offer until you know it is the best offer you may get. Once you agree to a settlement offer, you cannot change it later. It is best to speak with an attorney before signing any settlement agreement.
Know What Comes Next
After you report an accident, your insurance company will investigate and wait for a claim to be filed. During this process, it is recommended to work with a personal injury attorney who can make sure that your legal rights are protected.