Don't let the unexpected catch you completely off-guard. If you're celebrating a getaway or honeymoon with your new spouse, the likelihood of an accident is probably the last thing on your mind. However, it is always wise to be prepared for a bump or two in this ride of life (no pun intended). Should you encounter an out-of-state car accident, don't panic. Let's take a quick look at a "game plan" that will equip you with essential knowledge for navigating the process.
Keep Your Records: For any out-of-state accidents, it's important than ever to claim a copy of your accident report. Sometimes, it can take a couple of days for this report to process, so be patient. While you're on the scene, stick to the facts when you explain the order of events. This isn't the time to admit fault, blame others, etc. Don't get emotional when recalling the story. Tell what happened exactly as you remember it, and keep it at that.
Keep Good Records: Take good records of everything to make it easier to file your claim and present your case to officers, attorneys, and anyone else involved. Snap plenty of quality pictures of your vehicle's damage for reference. Keep track of dates and times that you contacted your insurance company, attorney, or body shop. It will all help in the long run.
Know the Area: Should you need to hire a car accident attorney, it's best to start your search within your vacationing spot. Local attorneys are familiar with the area and the state laws, so search for top local recommendations. The same holds true for auto repair shops. Ask around and search web recommendation platforms, such as Google Reviews, to find the fastest and most effective business. Most importantly, make sure that your chosen shop is accepted by your insurance company for maximum benefits. It's best to ask your insurance company for a list of approved body shops within the area in question.
Make the Call: Once you've dealt with the law enforcement side of your accident, your next step is to contact your insurance company. This will help you understand the process for filing an out-of-state claim and to have an adjuster look at the damage to determine your benefits and out-of-pocket costs. You'll also want to explore your options for towing and repair services. Since your accident took place in another state, it's likely that your insurance won't front the cost of towing your vehicle back home to be repaired. Be sure to start the claims process swiftly to so that you can get your car back on the road.
Keep it Legit: As with any car accident, good preparation is key, so be sure that you have an active auto insurance policy at all times. Keep your license and registration cards easily accessible in your vehicle. Store everything under lock and key in your glove compartment so that it's always at your fingertips should you need to verify your status as a legal driver in your state of residence.
You should always keep your car current with registration and insurance, take good notes, be honest about your side of the story, and, most importantly, try to keep calm throughout the process. Your insurance company is your biggest ally, so ask plenty of questions and know your policy well. Car accidents can catch you by surprise, but with a solid plan in place, you'll be ready to tackle anything with confidence and poise.