Getting into a car accident can be scary. Getting into a car accident in another country where you can’t just call your mom and dad to come help you is terrifying. Although car accidents may be handled differently in your home country, there are specific procedures that can make this a lot less painful if it were to happen to you in the US.
Stop the car and turn on your hazard lights immediately. This will alert other drivers that you are stopped and they should go around you. If you are able to move to the right side of the road, that is always preferable but obviously the circumstances may prevent you from doing so.
Check to see if everyone in the car with you is okay. If not, call 911 immediately.
Get out of the car to check on the passengers of the other vehicles involved. Of course, only if you are in a safe place that allows you to do so.
Call the police. Although some people may consider this overreacting, filing a police report keeps the incident from turning into a “he said she said” scenario where no one will admit fault. If you called an ambulance, more likely than not the policy is already on their way. If no one is hurt, you can call the non-emergency line in your city.
Get the other party’s information. This includes drivers license, copy of their insurance card, contact information, make and model of their car, and a picture of their license plate.
File a claim with your insurance company. Do not fall for the other party trying to give you cash to avoid running this through insurance – always try to do things the the right way. Plus, if you take the cash, you will probably end up with way less money than the actual cost of fixing your car. Once your insurance company has been notified of the accident, they will help set you up with an auto body shop to go repair your car. They will also get in touch with the police to get a copy of the report as well as give you a call and ask for your formal statement of what happened.
Get your car fixed. The wonderful thing about insurance is that it’s there for these kinds of situations. If you were found at fault for the accident, your rates may go up. But if the accident was someone else’s fault and there is proof, more likely than not this will not affect your rates. Please note that you may still be liable for the deductible even if the other party was at fault. But, paying $500 out of pocket is a lot nicer than not having insurance and having to pay the $2,000 it actually cost to fix your car.