You were just involved in an accident. Hopefully you are not injured, but you are possibly shaken and a bit confused, now is not the time to be scrambling for your policy information and researching towing companies and auto repair shops.
Move your vehicle out of traffic and call 911
If you are able to move your vehicle out of traffic, do so. Many people are under the false assumption that you must leave your vehicle in the middle of the road where the accident happened, this is not true. Move your vehicle off to the shoulder if you can, the police and other motorists will appreciate this. Next, call the police and write down or photograph the other party’s license plate number. Believe it or not, not all people will give you accurate insurance or driver’s license information. The Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimates that approximately 14% of the driving population is uninsured.
Swap information with the other party(s) involved
Make sure your insurance ID card is current so you can provide the authorities and the other party(s) involved in the accident with your insurance information. Get the other party’s insurance information, policy number, claims telephone number. Also, get their name, address and a telephone number where they can be reached. The more information you can provide to your insurance company, the quicker the claim will be processed.
Know your 24/7 claim reporting telephone number
Write your claim telephone number on your ID card if it’s not already printed on it, or keep it on your mobile phone.
Know who you are going to call to tow your vehicle
If you have roadside assistance keep the telephone number handy. If not, it’s a good idea to have an idea who you can call in the areas you will be traveling. Roadside assistance is inexpensive and we highly recommend adding it to your policy. Roadside assistance now covers vehicles with liability only coverage.
Know who you want to repair your vehicle
Research local auto repair shops and pick one or two that have good reputations and that meet your standards. Have their telephone numbers and addresses available for the towing company that will be towing your vehicle.
Keep a roadside emergency kit in your vehicle. Some items to include:
Charged cell phone.
First-aid kit. As well as an assortment of Band-Aids, it should include adhesive tape, gauze pads, aspirin, antiseptic wipes, antiseptic cream or ointment, and anything particular to you or your family.
Fire Extinguisher. It should be rated for Class B and Class C fires by the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA. The NFPA says Class B fires are those that involve flammable or combustible liquids, such as gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene. Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment such as switches, panel boxes and batteries.
Three reflective warning triangles. While many prepackaged emergency kits contain one warning triangle, Crosby suggests you have three that are placed 50 feet apart to warn oncoming traffic.
Foam tire sealant. A quick, inexpensive way to repair many flats without changing the tire.
Jumper cables. They should be at least 10 feet in length and coated with at least 8-gauge rubber.
Flashlight and extra batteries. The flashlight should be waterproof.
Duct tape. It is the universal fix-it solution. Carry at least 10 feet of it.
Tow strap or tow rope. It should be strong enough to tow 6,000 pounds.
Multipurpose utility tool. This can be something like a Leatherman Tool or a Swiss Army Knife.
Rain poncho. Even an inexpensive plastic poncho is better than nothing when changing a tire in the pouring rain.
Nonperishable snacks. Protein bars are a good choice.
Cat litter. It works as well as sand beneath the tires for traction and weighs less.
Windshield ice scraper.
More information on creating an emergency kit for your vehicle can be found here: Emergency Kit Video
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