Getting into an accident can be a very stressful ordeal. When you get into an accident that only involves your car, it can be difficult to know what to do, which can make the situation even more stressful. Use the following guide to walk you through the process of handling your first single-car collision.
Determine What Is Damaged
The first thing you need to do is get out of your car and determine what you damaged. If you backed into your own mailbox, fence, or another one of your vehicles, you do not need to make a police report. If you ran into a piece of public property, you need to make a police report because you will need to pay to have the damage repaired. If you ran into a piece of private property, such as a neighbor's mailbox or vehicle, you can contact the person directly and ask them how they would like to handle the situation. You may be able to pay for the damage out of your own pocket.
Assess the Damage to Your Car
Look over your car thoroughly. If you have simply dented a portion of your car, broke out a light, or scraped the paint on your car, it is more than likely still driveable. If you have major damage done to any portion of the car, you should not drive it. Contact a towing company and have the vehicle towed to a repair shop like Fenza's Auto Body Inc. to have the damage repaired.
Determine if You Need to Use Your Insurance for the Repairs
If your car is driveable, drive it to a repair shop to get an estimate for what the repairs will cost you. If the repairs will cost less than you would have to pay for a deductible for your insurance company, simply pay for the repairs rather than involve your insurance company. If the damages are extensive, you will need to contact the company, have the damage assessed by an insurance claim adjuster, and wait for the company to pay for the repairs.
Knowing what to do when any accident occurs is important. Taking the time to assess whether or not you need to make a claim with your insurance company could save you money in the long run. Once you get an accident on your record, it could raise your insurance rates -- and most repair shops do not care if an insurance company pays for the repairs or if you pay for the repairs out of pocket, as long as they get paid.