What do I need to do if I get into an accident?
There are several things you should do when you get into an accident:
- First, the most important thing is safety. Check on the well-being of yourself and those in your vehicle, and then others involved in the accident if possible. Always call the police and 911 for emergency assistance.
- Next, stop your vehicle and shut off the engine. Never leave the scene of an accident! If it is possible, make an effort to not block the roadway. This will allow traffic to continue to flow, and allow emergency vehicles easier access to the scene. However if the accident is serious enough to cause major bodily injury, it is best to wait for professionals to arrive and handle the situation.
- Never admit fault! Even if you think it was your fault, do not admit it to the others involved in the accident. Admitting fault is an admission of liability for insurance purposes, and your insurance policy would be forced to pay even if it is later determined that you were not at fault. Never attempt to make a private settlement or offer with the other drivers involved, this is also an admission of fault.
- Gather as much information as you can at the scene of the accident. Record the date, time, and location. If you can, take pictures of the scene of the accident; all of the vehicles involved and their license plates, any street signs or signals, the surrounding objects and scene. Record a description of what occurred, draw a diagram of the scene. Gathering as much info as possible will help to prove liability in an accident, and make the legal process that much easier on everyone involved.
- Gather info on the other drivers involved; such as Name, date of birth, address, phone number, driver's license number, license plate number, make/model of vehicle, and their insurance company and agent if applicable.
- Be sure that you obtain this information directly from a valid I.D., DO NOT take their word for it! Uninsured/underinsured motorists can and will do anything to avoid being caught, including lying about personal information to another driver.
- Once everything at the accident scene has been taken care of, take the time to notify your insurance agent of the accident, even if it was not your fault. Notifying your agent will help speed up the process of filing a claim and getting compensation for the loss. It is your responsibility to report the claim to the insurance company, from there the company will contact the at-fault driver and their respective company and get the process moving as quickly as possible.
If I sell or trade-in my current vehicle and purchase a newly acquired vehicle, will the insurance transfer to the new vehicle?
Yes, newly acquired vehicles are covered the second you drive it off the lot, however it is very important that you notify your agent or your company of the vehicle change. Even if the auto salesperson tells you that they will notify your insurance company, do not rely on them. There have been several incidences when consumers have relied on the auto dealer to notify the insurance agent/company, and more often than not the salesperson never makes the call.
Does insurance pay for attorney fees if I am sued for causing an accident?
Yes, think of your liability coverage as a pre-paid legal expense.
What does uninsured/underinsured motorists cover?
This coverage protects against bodily injury to you or persons in your vehicle caused by an accident in which the other driver is at fault and either has no coverage in force, or their coverage limit is less than the expenses you incur for medical services due to your bodily injury. It is a coverage that you purchase to protect you from others on the road that haven't purchased proper protection.
Do I need Hired/Non-owned Auto coverage for my business?
Yes, when an employee is using a personal car on company business, if that employee is liable for an accident, that employee's personal auto policy will cover first as the primary. However the company can still be sued above the personal auto policy limits, this is where Hired/Non-owed coverage would come in to play. Hired/Non-owned coverage will provide liability coverage for the business.
Do I need to purchase insurance from the rental car company?
No, your current coverages on your auto policy will transfer to the rental car you are driving, so as long as you have comp and collision coverage, the rental car will be covered on the same terms as your personal auto policy states. Most personal auto policies cover rentals at no additional premium. However, if you are traveling outside of the United States and its territories or possessions (i.e. Mexico), coverage does not apply. If you are renting a moving truck, your coverage may not apply to vehicles over 4 wheels. Please check with your agent to be sure.