No one ever plans to get into a car accident. The shock of even a minor collision can rattle a driver of any experience level. However, as difficult as it is to keep a clear head and gather information for your insurance claim after a crash, you must follow the necessary protocols to avoid mishandling your claim.
At its worst, a mishandled insurance claim could result in you getting nothing for your damages. According to Forbes, the following are the most common mistakes people make regarding auto insurance claims after an accident:
1. Making a claim when you shouldn’t
In some instances, it might make more sense for you not to file an insurance claim after an accident. If the cost of repairs for your vehicle is less than your deductible amount, you won’t receive anything anyways. If the value of repairs is only slightly higher than your deductible, you could risk increasing your rate, which might not be worth it in the long run. If your car is the only vehicle with minor damages, consider skipping the claim.
2. Exaggerating your claim
When it seems like they might be at fault, some people will lie or deliberately exaggerate an accident’s circumstances to avoid taking the blame. However, this is never a good idea, as your insurance company can void your claim later due to misrepresentation. Between smartphone cameras and bystanders, it’s unlikely your accident won’t have witnesses.
3. Saying you’re fine
Sometimes the shock and adrenaline rush that occurs immediately after an accident can delay the pain of injuries – particularly soft tissue injuries like whiplash. You may want to reassure the other party in the accident that you are okay, but you’ll want to be careful with your words. You may need to file for additional damages if you experience any subsequent pain.
4. Not gathering evidence
If you can do so after an accident, take photos or videos of the scene to provide to your insurance company on your smartphone. Capture images of the vehicles and your surroundings, the weather conditions or any relevant traffic markers. Photos could be the difference between your insurance company approving your claim or denying it.