Saturday, November 26, 2011

How To Handle Holiday Fender Benders

The holiday shopping blitz is in full effect, which means there are more people than ever bumping into each other at the mall. Unfortunately, more people are bumping into each other in the parking lots as well! Police do not respond to parking lot fender benders unless alcohol or injuries are involved, so it's important to know what to do if you find yourself in an unfortunate run in with a fellow shopper.

  • Assess The Situation: Make sure no one is hurt and try to determine if drugs or alcohol are involved (if so, call 911).
  • Stay Calm: Emotions run high after a collision, make sure your temper doesn't. Getting loud or emotional will only make the situation worse and could lead to something far worse than a little dent or lost paint.
  • Who's At Fault: Ultimately, the insurance company(ies) will make their own determination of fault, but you can help your claim representative by documenting the accident. Usually, the person backing out is deemed at fault, but make sure you take photos if possible (use your cell phone camera) and ask anyone who saw what happened to write it down with their contact information.
  • Do Not: Apologize for the accident (even if you think its you're fault), tell other parties how much insurance you carry or accept any money (even if you think its the other drivers fault) or agree to forget about the accident.
  • Exchange Information: Make sure you get the other driver's name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, vehicle make, model, year, color, insurance carrier and policy number.
  • Contact Your Insurance Agent: Call your local, professional agent to let your company know about the accident and discuss how to proceed with filing a claim (if needed).
  • Don't Let A Little Dent Ruin The Holidays! Accidents happen, but it doesn't have to ruin the season. Hopefully no one is hurt (the most important thing!) and any little dents or lost paint can be fixed. Yes, accidents are unfortunate but letting it ruin such a special time of year would be far worse.
Be extra careful in parking lots during your shopping trips. Look twice before backing out and watch out for your fellow shoppers who are not quite as cautious of a driver as you. Try to avoid the extra little run-ins, but be prepared just in case. Have a safe and happy shopping season!

No comments: