Updated January 1, 2020 . AmFam Team
When you’re in an accident, a lot of thoughts run through your mind. It can be overwhelming to deal with what’s just happened, but knowing what to do beforehand can make a big difference. If someone hits your car, you may by wondering if you should contact your insurance company right away to tell them about the accident.
Calling your car insurance company is the first thing you should do after you’ve made sure everyone is okay and spoken with the local authorities. You may be wondering why you should call your insurance company if you’re not at-fault for an accident — this is an important step in connecting your future claim to the accident. This way, you can explain the incident and get your claim started as soon as possible, helping you to get back on the road more quickly.
Generally, it’s not advisable to talk to the other driver’s car insurance company. This is because their insurance is more interested in controlling the cost of paying for an accident their customer may have caused. Talking to the other party’s insurance company has a couple of downsides, including:
The opposing party’s insurance company may take anything you say and use it against you to create reasonable doubt over who caused the accident.
Sometimes, insurance companies will offer lump sum settlements to the opposing party that require you to sign away the ability to file a liability claim over the incident.
If you absolutely have to speak to the other party’s insurance, have your own insurance agent do the talking. And if the other driver won’t contact their insurance or doesn’t have any, call yours and explain the situation. In the event of an uninsured or underinsured driver causing the accident, your full coverage car insurance should help you cover costs that you may spend months in court trying to get out of the other driver.
Depending on the types of coverage you have on your auto insurance policy, you should be covered — up to your coverage limits — whether or not you’re at-fault. If you want to be sure you’re fully protected if the unexpected happens, consider adding these coverages to your policy.
When your car hits another vehicle, object or is in a rollover, your collision insurance steps in to help pay for out-of-pocket expenses to your car, whether you were at-fault or not.
Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle that happens from an incident that isn’t collision related. Typical situations include storm, fire, flood damage, hitting an animal and theft or vandalism.
Liability coverage can help pay the costs of damages and injuries to others if there is an accident and you were determined at-fault. This usually breaks down into bodily injury liability coverage and personal property damage liability coverage.
With medical payments coverage you can get help paying medical bills for you, your family and your passengers when you’re involved in a covered accident. You’ll also have protection if you’re walking or riding a bike and are hit by a vehicle.
As mentioned earlier, these coverages can help pay for damages caused by drivers who either don’t have insurance or don’t have enough insurance to cover the costs.
While this coverage is actually its own separate policy, it can cover you for up to $10 million* in settlement costs should you be sued and found at-fault after an accident. Umbrella insurance can help you cover the difference between what your liability auto insurance will pay and what you’d have to pay out of pocket if the cost went above your liability coverage limit.
Want to understand more about what kind of car insurance coverage you have and how it can help you after an accident? Connect with your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) — they’ll make sure you’ve got the right coverage, and enough of it, to protect your finances should the unexpected happen.
*Depending on your individual policy’s coverage limits. Personal umbrella insurance policies start at $1 million.