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What to do after an auto crash

The sound of screeching tires and twisting metal fills the air as another vehicle slams into the front of your car.  You’ve just been in a crash. What do you do now?

By Jamey Toney, ChFC® Country Financial

 The best way to handle the situation is to stay calm and know what you need to do.  Be prepared to follow these steps.

At the scene

• First, make sure anyone who is injured receives medical attention.  The lives and health of the people involved in a crash are more important than vehicle damage.

• Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers an accident has occurred.  Do not move your vehicle unless it’s blocking traffic.  

• Call the police, even if the crash is minor.  

• Write down the names and addresses of anyone involved in the accident and any witnesses.  Write a description of any vehicles involved and specifically note any damage to the vehicles.  From the other driver, get the driver’s license number, license plate number of the automobile and the name of the other driver’s insurance company, along with the policy number.  

• If possible, take photos of the damage to your car.  Draw a sketch of the accident scene and how the accident occurred.  Make a note of the road and weather conditions, too.

Fixing the damage

• Call your insurance company to report the claim.  Some companies have 800 numbers you can call 24 hours a day to report the claim.  Others may require that you report the claim to your agent. 

•  Every insurance company handles claims differently.  However, most companies will give you a claim number and assign a representative to your case.

• The claims representative will explain the claims process to you, including your coverages and your deductible.

• Generally, an appraiser will assess the damage to your vehicle and determine the amount needed to repair it.  You will receive this amount, minus your deductible.  

• Take your car to a repair shop and have the work done.  The shop should contact your appraiser with questions about your estimate before beginning repairs.

Jamey Toney is an exclusive multiline agent representing COUNTRY Financial.  He holds a Chartered Financial Consultant designation.For more information on tornado safety visit the COUNTRY Financial website at   

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Jamey Toney, Country Financial
(770) 985-9757