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Car collisions often occur within a blink of an eye, leaving folks wondering what to do in the aftermath. There are some important details and critical information needed to prevent delays in the claims process.

Here is a checklist to aid drivers in collecting vital information.

Safety

  • Check to see if anyone is injured. If so, dial 9-1-1 immediately for medical help. If you are injured, don’t move and wait for help.
  • Turn on your hazard lights.
  • Move the vehicles, if drivable, to the shoulder or as far away from traffic as possible.
  • Set up road flares and orange warning cones or reflective triangles, if available, to further warn other drivers. These should be set up in front of and behind the vehicles.
  • Call the police to complete a report of the incident.

Collect Information

  • Gather license, registration and insurance info from the other driver(s).

Document the Collision

  • Take photos or video of the scene, making sure to capture all vehicle damage, the vehicle license plates, the area where the collision occurred and the people involved, if it can be done safely.
  • Note the:
    • Date of Accident
    • Location of Accident
    • Time of Accident
    • Name(s) of other people involved
    • Driver’s License Number(s)
    • Insurance Company Name(s)
    • Registration Number(s)
    • Insurance Policy Number(s)
    • Collect contact information from witnesses

Report the Collision

  • Get the responding police officer’s name and badge number.
  • Note the accident report number and a contact number to request a copy of the report.
  • Take a photo of the other involved’s license(s), registration and insurance info, if possible. Make sure that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and/or license plate is visible.
  • Collect contact information for the driver(s), including home/work/cell phone numbers and email address(es).

File a Claim

  • Call your insurance company or agent to file a claim as soon as possible.
  • Note the:
    • Name of the insurance agent handling your file
    • Date and time of the call
    • Insurance agent’s contact number and email address
    • Claim number

When filing a claim, your agent will ask for the following information:

  • Your contact number(s): home/work/cell, and which is preferred
  • Your email address
  • The make/model/year of the involved vehicles (your and the others involved)
  • If you have the other party’s vehicle and insurance information
  • A claim number for the other insured(s) involved
  • A copy of the police report

If the last two are not yet available when you contact your agent, be prepared to provide them as soon as possible.