Youâ€™re driving to the grocery store and stopped at a red light. Just as the light turns green, you put your foot on the gas pedal and â€” WHAM! â€” you get rear-ended by another automobile.
Youâ€™re startled, but not obviously injured. Time to quickly survey the scene. Groceries will have to wait.
Uh-oh. The other driver doesnâ€™t seem to be carrying auto insurance. Things just got more complicated. What do you do now? Here are a few key tips to help you deal with an accident where the other driver is uninsured.
Call the Police
Most states require a minimum amount of liability to be carried on auto insurance policies. Calling police after a crash involving an uninsured motorist is recommended, not necessarily for civic duty or even supplemental law enforcement, but because the authorities add another level of protection for you. If the other driver is uncooperative or flees the scene, itâ€™s incumbent on the police to find and identify the person, otherwise it will be much harder to ensure some level of accountability.
Exchange Information With the Other Driver Anyway
As it would be in any case, getting the basic details of the other driver is always something you should at least attempt to do. Name, address, license plate and driverâ€™s license number are the kind of details that will help your insurance company in its efforts to collect from uninsured drivers who were at fault. Again, it also adds a layer of protection for you, and potentially limits your own liability.
Donâ€™t Accept Money From the Other Person
There are lots of reasons why another party might not have current auto insurance. Itâ€™s likely they would face heavy fines and fees as a result of getting into an uninsured fender bender. Whatever they might be, donâ€™t potentially let them off the hook by accepting a cash bribe on the spot. Not to mention: Itâ€™s considered fraud. Also, in the immediate wake of an accident, itâ€™s not always clear how much damage has been done to the cars involved, other property at the scene, or even the people involved. What good is some cash when it might cost you 10 times as much, or more, down the road to fix whatever youâ€™re not sure is yet broken.
Double Check to Ensure Youâ€™re Okay
Frequently, the other driverâ€™s insurance would include something called bodily liability coverage. But they donâ€™t have insurance! If you have been injured, itâ€™s possible your own insurance will cover it, though a deductible might be required from your own pocket.
Gather Information About the Accident
Police can help you do this too, in certain circumstances, but it behooves you, for your own records, to account for the scene. Photograph the area with your smartphone â€” the damage to the automobiles, their respective locations in the road, relevant skid marks or damage to other property, plus any information from witnesses, including their contact information. A key witness might be a tipping point in your favor when other information isnâ€™t clear.
Talk to Your Own Insurer
Again, as in any accident with auto damage, see what you can do about getting your car fixed by talking with your own insurance company. That relationship will be doubly important this time around. You also might want to make sure that you carry uninsured motorist protection, and if you have related property damage insurance If you donâ€™t, the complications from such an accident might grow.
Bone up on the Insurance Claim Process
Continue to protect yourself. Do some research. Consider contacting an attorney. Navigating the claims process, particularly if you havenâ€™t done it before and are injured, can be stressful. And if the other party was not insured, even more so.
It is always a good idea to be sure your insurance is up to date. SelectQuote agents are ready to review your current coverage and compare your policy to todayâ€™s rates to determine if we can save you money. Call (855) 777-6090 or visit www.selectquoteautoandhome.com for more information.
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