OKLAHOMA – If your family plans to hit the road for holiday travels, you’ll be joining 84.4 million other drivers, more than a quarter of the U.S. population, on the roads this holiday season. Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance is offering tips to help Oklahomans prepare for potential accidents and avoid ruining holiday cheer.
“No one likes to think about having a car accident, but it’s important to be prepared if you are involved in an accident,” said John Wiscaver, vice president of public affairs, Oklahoma Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance. “If the accident is minor, the more prepared you are, the sooner you can get the process done so you can be on your way, enjoying time with your loved ones.”
When you’ve been in an auto accident, it’s important to know what actions to take to protect yourself and your family. Here are some simple guidelines that will help you if you’re in an accident this season:
• Call the police. If possible, call the police to ensure that a detailed and accurate report is made before you leave the scene. The police report can be the best evidence to record the cause of the accident.
• Preserve the scene. If it is safe for all parties, preserve the scene of the accident until the police arrive, including not moving any vehicles and asking witnesses to stay. If witnesses must leave, first ask to collect their contact information and description of what they witnessed.
• Gather information. While waiting for the police, gather the other driver’s insurance information, including name, driver’s license number, address, insurance company and insurance policy number. However, if the other party gets confrontational or if you are concerned for your safety, wait for the police to deal with the other driver(s).
• Take photos. If possible, take photos of the scene, and all vehicles involved. This will help you if you need to submit a liability coverage claim for the other driver's damaged vehicle. If you do not have a camera on your phone, consider buying a cheap disposable camera to keep in your car.
• Don’t admit fault. Do not admit fault in the accident, but simply detail the events as they occurred. Even saying, “I’m sorry” could be used in the claims process to show you are at fault.
• Write down what happened. Most insurance claim processes require a brief description of how the accident occurred. You should write it down quickly after the accident, while the memories are still fresh. Be thorough and exact, and use clear language in your description.