Do you know how to handle it and be prepared - if you are in an auto accident? It's always an anxious time when an accident happens and right after. In case you are in an auto accident, make sure to be prepared before it happens.
Before you potentially get into an accident, be prepared. Know what your insurance coverage and limits are. Have a talk with your insurance agent about it and be current in your payments, so there is no lapse in coverage. Keep your current auto insurance card in your car and take a photo of it to keep on your phone (marked as a favorite or in an “important docs” folder). Maintain a good relationship with your insurance agent, as well, because he can guide you when an auto accident happens.
Keep important documents in your car so you have them when you need them – like the registration card. Keep your driver license on you. It will be better for you when you need to pull them up, and to know what to do. Put the national insurance phone number and your agent’s personal number on your phone, in case you have an auto accident off hours or on the weekend. Put all emergency numbers on your phone (loved ones, your insurance agent, your doctor, and any other important numbers) so a responder can make the calls by swiping to emergency, if you are unable to.
If you have an auto accident, call the police if you need to, and exchange information with the other party. Try to get a signed confession if the other person is at fault, but it's not something you should expect – just as you probably wouldn't want to sign such a confession yourself without a lawyer present (the other party who rear-ended me in an auto accident offered to sign a confession, so I took it). If weather conditions are bad or the damage is minimal, police would rather have you exchange information and get all the cars off the road.
The other party may be rude, may be blaming you, or may be intimidating. Don't let the other party get to you. Maintain your composure. Flared tempers can escalate.
Hopefully, you will not be in a position where you are injured badly. Make sure you have emergency phone number(s) accessible on your phone by a swipe by anyone, so that anyone who comes by to help you can let your loved one(s) know your status, and where you might be taken (if to a hospital, for example). This was important when my daughter was t-boned and was injured. She could not call, but emergency people could because her phone was accessible.
I had an issue in winter where my bumper collided with another at slow speed. I couldn't find the insurance card - I realized it was probably in a different purse than the one I had with me (I should have placed it in the car, not kept it in a purse). I called the national insurance number because it was on a weekend (I Googled the insurance company name for the phone number). They agreed to email the card to me, and I could retrieve it on my phone. We exchanged our information, and all turned out fine. I spoke to the local insurance agent after the weekend to get them up to speed and start the claim.
Take photos of the damage on both vehicles. If the other party doesn't have auto insurance, that's not good - make sure to have the car license plate number, the person's driver license information and contact information. You should call your insurance agent (or police) to discuss what to do next (like schedule an inspection of the damage to your car).
Be prepared and things will go smoother to get your insurance payment faster.
It's always somewhat traumatic to deal with an accident. You don't need to add to your anxiety by fretting over what to do while waiting for your insurance payment, if you need money to get by – to fix the car, to rent a car, to pay bills, or for some other need. Take a deep breath and regroup.
If you are not at fault, and are waiting for an insurance payment, you may have to wait longer than you want to. Some insurance companies are better than others in paying promptly. If you are waiting for the insurance settlement, and are needing cash now for bills, you may be able to get an advance on the insurance payment, while you are waiting for your settlement to pay you. That way, you can go forward with your life, and get repairs done, or whatever you need, while waiting.