Vehicles are becoming safer and safer every year. Where we used to only rely on seat belts cars now have sophisticated airbags. They can even park and stop themselves before an accident can happen. When properly maintained, roadways are even safer. However, safer roads and cars aren’t enough to prevent all accidents. The truth is even being an aware and defensive driver cannot ensure you will never have an accident. Factors you cannot control include wildlife, environmental factors and other drivers who are temporarily distracted or driving impaired for one reason or another.

Let’s imagine despite your best efforts you’ve had an automobile accident. What should you do immediately? And what other steps should you take?

First, review your surroundings and make sure you and others are safe. If you need to leave your vehicle and move to safety, do so. Then call 911. They will dispatch police, ambulance and towing services that are immediately necessary following an accident. They can also help to keep you calm and advise you what you should be doing while you wait on the police or medical team.


Keeping your surroundings in mind, take out your phone and start taking pictures. Take close-up photos of your vehicle, the other vehicle or any other property damage. If you can do so safely, take a few steps back and snap a few wide-angle, establishing photos of both vehicles and even tire tracks. And after the police have completed their examination of the scene and gathered everyone’s insurance information ask if you can snap a couple of photos of the other party’s insurance information and statement if they will allow it.


InstructionsOnce the dust has settled and your nerves are calm, call your Garlow Insurance Agent. We will probably ask how you are and if the police and ambulance were called, just to make sure you ARE okay. If the accident involved another party (car, property, etc.) we will ask for their information so we may notify the other insurance company, directly. Sadly, after an accident, people can experience harassment by third parties who may not even have been involved in the incident. Contacting your automobile insurance company quickly establishes what is called a “Doctrine of Subrogation” that allows us to take over rights or remedies when it comes to third parties.


Generally, you are going to deal with your Garlow Insurance Agent, however, your policy may allow you to contact the insurance carrier, directly. Within a day or two of the accident, the claimant will be contacted for facts detailing the incident to create a recorded or written statement for the file. This may require an examination conducted under oath. The insurance company is also required to interview the other driver or drivers and any witnesses.


If the accident resulted in injuries you are required to provide documentation about things like lost wages, medical expenses, and rental car expenses. Double-check your policy or call your Garlow Insurance agent to fully understand what is covered and what may be excluded. If the vehicle damage is minor you may need to obtain competitive repair estimates. If the vehicle damage is considered a total loss the car insurance carrier may review pricing guides, survey dealers, and other industry tools to establish fair market price. If there is a disagreement on the amount of loss you can often demand an appraisal. At this point, a professional appraiser will determine a fair market price in a binding agreement.


Drive safely, every day! However, accidents do happen. If and when you are involved in an automobile accident call 911, take photos and call your Garlow Insurance Agent. We’ll take it from there.

See also: Calling in a Claim

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not serve as an official recommendation from Garlow Insurance Agency, Inc.. Please contact your licensed insurance agent specialist to discuss insurance coverage’s and laws.