SEATTLE - Snowy, icy conditions
usually lead to more car accidents and auto insurance claims.
Knowing what to do immediately
following an accident can reduce stress and save vehicle
owners time and money.
"Drivers also can take the
headache out of being involved in an auto accident with
some advance planning," said Kenton Brine, NW Insurance
If you are involved in an automobile
accident, NW Insurance Council offers the following tips
to help you handle the situation effectively.
Immediately following an accident:
- If anyone is injured, call for medical assistance
immediately. Provide basic first aid, but don't move
an injured person. Wait for professional medical help.
- Take reasonable steps to prevent further damage to
your car such as setting up flares, getting the car
off the road and calling a tow truck.
- Call the police or highway patrol and wait for them
at the accident scene.
- Write down these key facts to help you with your insurance
- All other drivers' license and vehicle license
- Other drivers' insurance company name, policy
number, agent phone number.
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all drivers
- Witnesses' names, addresses and phone numbers.
- Take photos (from several angles) of the vehicles
and the accident scene. Be sure to photograph the
license plate of the other vehicle(s).
- Make a rough sketch of the scene and note details
of the accident such as time of day, road and weather
conditions, street names and direction and speed
- Call your insurance company to report the accident
within 24 hours.
- Get a copy of the police report.
- Keep copies of all documents related to the accident.
Filing a claim
- Contact your insurance agent or company immediately.
Ask the representative what documents are needed to
support your claim.
- Keep records of your expenses related to the accident.
These expenses may be reimbursable under your policy.
- Maintain copies of all your paperwork, including the
police report and repair estimates.
Before an accident:
- Keep a notebook and pen in the glove compartment to
help you record important information about the accident.
You also may want to include an inexpensive "throwaway"
- Keep your insurance company's claims reporting phone
number in your wallet or purse.
- Always carry your vehicle registration and insurance
- If you are allergic to certain medicines or require
special medical attention, keep a medical alert card
with you at all times - whether you are the driver or
To order a free brochure, How to
File an Insurance Claim, visit NW
Insurance Council or call (800) 664-4942.
NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education and public policy organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.