You’ve probably heard it a million times: if you have the misfortune of getting into a car accident, you’ve got to swap info with the other driver immediately. This usually means exchanging details like license plate numbers, contact details, and of course, your insurance information.
But what if, for whatever reason, you’re involved in an accident, and you don’t get the other driver’s details?
There can be a lot of chaos that ensues post-accident. Whether you’re too stressed to remember all the items on your checklist or you experience the unfortunate event of a hit-and-run, there are still steps you can take to make sure you’re taken care of.
It starts before the accident by making sure your auto insurance policy includes uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. That way, if you don’t get the other driver’s information, you won’t be left wondering whether you’re covered.
Instead, you can focus on responding to the accident.
Here’s what you should do next:
1. Make sure you’re okay.
It happens: When the shock of an accident sets in, you may lose sight of what’s happening in the present moment. Take a moment to check yourself and any passengers for injuries, and, if you’re able, move your car to a safe spot.
2. Call the police.
We get it — it can feel silly to involve the police in something as seemingly minor as a fender bender. But a police report can be an essential part of filing an insurance claim, so if everyone’s in okay shape, call the police non-emergency line (use 911 if there are injuries or severe damage).
It’s best to get a report number for the police if you can.
3. Write down what you remember about the accident.
Pull out a pen and paper, open the notes app on your phone — do whatever you have to do to start jotting down memories.
Any details about the accident scene and the vehicle or individual involved is fair game, so things like the license plate number, the color, make, or model of the other car or anything about the driver can be useful.
Do what you can to focus and get it all down so that you’re not staring at a blank page later.
4. Take photos.
One of the biggest perks of regularly carrying around a smartphone is the ability to snap high-quality pictures at a moment’s notice.
Take pictures of everything you can — the outside of your car, any damage it sustained, the surrounding area of the accident, etc.
In the case of a hit-and-run accident, even the tiniest details could help police find the other driver.
5. Look around for witnesses.
Not only do you have a phone in your pocket — chances are, just about everyone else in the vicinity does too, and it’s very possible someone else recorded evidence of your accident. But even if no one nearby captured a photo or video of the incident, bystanders may be able to tell you about details you somehow missed, like which way the driver went after the accident or identifying characteristics about their car.
Jot down your witnesses’ info just if your insurance carrier or the police need to get in touch with them later.
6. Contact your insurance company.
Whether the other driver took off after the accident or even flat out refused to hand over their info, you should still notify your insurance company about the accident. Not only does your insurance carrier likely require you to get in touch within a reasonable time, but they can also make things easier by taking some of the work out of your hands.
Now you might ask: Will your auto insurance policy cover you if you’re involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist?
And the answer depends, but if the other driver is responsible for the accident, their insurance will generally pay for the damage to your car and any medical bills.
But what if you don’t get the other driver’s insurance information?
This is why it’s important to make sure you have enough coverage for yourself — just in case they don’t.
The bottom line
Consider checking your auto insurance policy today to see if you’re covered against uninsured and underinsured motorists.
At Metromile, we offer coverage for accidents with uninsured and underinsured motorists, but we also make filing claims more manageable with our claims assistant AVA, which can help verify where and when an accident happened and how hard the impact was. This can go a long way toward speeding up the claims process. In some cases, AVA can help pay out claims within minutes and help you schedule any necessary car repairs.
If you’re interested in learning more about Metromile and pay-per-mile auto insurance, take a Ride Along™, so you can see what Metromile is all about for free.
To get started, download the Metromile app, and get your free auto insurance quote.
Next, Metromile will consider your driving for about two weeks (you’ll still need to keep your current insurance provider during the trial period with Metromile), including how many miles you drive, to show you the price you might pay for auto insurance. We believe this will give you more confidence you’ll save money before you switch.