Hopefully, you will never be involved in a car accident. However, the statistics show that there are 280 million vehicles on the road in the US each year, and 12 million of those vehicles will be involved in a crash. Immediately after an accident, many motorists will feel disoriented, confused, upset, and even angry. Even if you are not injured, the swirl of emotions can make it difficult to determine what to do in the aftermath of an accident. In order to make sure you respond well, and have everything you need, after an accident, there are several things you should be in advance to prepare for a car accident.
Understand your insurance coverage
Let’s be honest. Car insurance can be complicated. So, it’s important to understand your policy before you need it. As a first step, be sure you are aware of how to file a claim, how to contact your agent, and the proper timeline. It’s also a good idea to store information concerning your insurance in your phone’s contacts so that you are ready to make the necessary calls without searching for the right numbers. Read through your policy paperwork, or call your insurance provider, to ensure you know what is covered and what to expect as out-of-pocket expenses. On top of understanding your own insurance, it’s important to read up on California Prop 213. This law impacts what economic damages you can sue for if you are driving without insurance. In short, if you are illegally driving without insurance, you will not be able to recover “unreasonable damages” if you are involved in a crash. This means that keeping your car insurance up to date is a critical part of preparing for an accident.
Put together a first aid kit
Even in the best-case scenario, it will take emergency services several minutes to arrive at the scene of an accident. Every car should be equipped with a robust first aid kit that contains both medical supplies and emergency equipment. Follow the Red Cross guidelines for assembling a kit of medical supplies. Then, add some other emergency supplies, such as a stash of road flares, a flashlight, a poncho, drinking water, and energy bars.
Make information easy to find
Even if you are involved in a minor fender-bender, you will need to exchange information with the other driver. In the chaos of the moment, you may have a difficult time locating or remembering all the details and pieces of paperwork. In advance, create an information packet to store in your glovebox. In the packet, place a copy of your insurance card and driver’s license and a business card or a typed sheet of your contact information. It’s also a good idea to print out a car accident checklist, which reminds you of the information you will need to collect and provides a spot to sketch the scene of the accident. While you could use your smartphone to jot down the notes, having a printed sheet gives you a backup in case your phone is damaged in an accident.
Set up medical information in your smartphone
If you are injured in an accident you will need a way to provide essential medical information and emergency contact to first responders. Luckily, modern smartphones have made this easier than ever. Most smartphone models provide easily-accessible places to record medical information, such as allergies, blood type, medications, and preexisting conditions. For example, the latest iPhones allow you to set up a medical ID inside the Health app. Best of all, all of this information can be accessed by first responders even if you are not able to unlock your phone.