Getting rear-ended can be a shocking and stressful experience. Once you’ve assessed the damage and made sure everyone is physically unharmed, one of the first questions that arises is: whose insurance should I call about this accident? This guide covers who to contact after a rear-end collision, what information to exchange, steps to take at the scene, and how to get your vehicle repaired quickly and fairly.
Call Your Own Insurance Provider
If you’ve been rear-ended, the first call you should make is to your own car insurance company, even if you weren’t at fault. Never rely solely on the other driver’s insurance provider. Your insurer has a duty to act in your best interests and will handle the claim process on your behalf.
Key reasons to call your insurance company after a rear-end accident:
They can immediately assign your claim to an adjuster and start working towards getting your vehicle repaired or total loss settled.
Reporting promptly creates a record of the incident in case the other party later denies fault or gives an alternative version of events.
Your insurer will communicate with the at-fault driver’s insurance on your behalf to seek compensation.
You may need guidance on what steps to take during the immediate aftermath of the collision.
So don’t delay in notifying your provider when your vehicle gets hit from behind. The sooner you make that call, the faster your claim can progress.
What Information to Exchange at the Scene
Before cars are moved, be sure to gather key details that your insurer will need about the other driver and vehicle involved:
- Driver’s name, phone number and address
- Insurance company and policy number
- Make, model, color and license plate of their vehicle
- Photos documenting damage to both vehicles
- Eyewitness accounts and contact info
Having this information readily available speeds up the claims process significantly compared to scrambling to get it later. If injuries are involved, also request a copy of the police report for the collision.
Steps to Take After a Rear-End Accident
Here are important steps to take following a rear-end car accident before you call insurance:
Move vehicles to a safe location if they are blocking traffic. Don’t flee the scene!
Check on the other driver to see if medical attention is needed. Provide first aid if properly trained.
Document the damage and scene through photos or video if able to safely do so.
Exchange driver and vehicle information with the other party.
Notify the police to have a report filed, especially if serious injuries are involved.
Seek medical care if you have any pain, discomfort or injuries. Adrenaline can mask symptoms immediately after an accident.
Taking these steps promptly can make a big difference in how smoothly your insurance claim and vehicle repairs are handled.
Who Pays for Repairs If You’re Rear-Ended?
In a rear-end collision, the driver who struck you from behind is nearly always considered at fault. This means their liability insurance should cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle, including:
- Body work to mend damage to rear bumper/tailgate
- Replacing a shattered rear windshield
- Realigning bumper andFrame straightening if bent
- Replacing any damaged rear lights
However, you still need to file a claim with your own insurer, even though the other party was responsible. Your provider will seek payment from the at-fault driver’s insurance company to have your vehicle repaired or total loss paid out.
Cooperating with your adjuster and providing all required documents will enable the insurer to secure compensation for damage caused by the other motorist. Never settle or accept payment directly from the other party’s insurer.
Will My Rates Go Up After Being Rear-Ended?
One concern many people have after a not-at-fault rear-end accident is whether their insurance premiums will increase. Fortunately, your rates should not go up if you were rear-ended, since you did not cause the collision.
However, if you file a claim against your own policy to cover repairs, that may impact your premiums down the road. Even not-at-fault claims can sometimes be a factor in pricing models.
Shopping around at renewal while highlighting that the rear-end accident wasn’t your fault can help find insurers willing to offer the best rates. Maintaining a clean driving history also helps minimize any premium increases.
Next Steps After Calling Insurance
Once you’ve reported the rear-end accident to your insurer, here are some next steps to expect:
Your adjuster will investigate fault and seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance.
Take your vehicle to an approved body shop for an estimate if drivable or have it towed.
Provide a recorded statement of what happened to your adjuster.
Send over any photos, police reports, and other evidence to support your claim.
Pay your collision deductible if you have that coverage and your vehicle is repairable.
Stay in touch with your adjuster throughout repairs or vehicle replacement.
Consider pursuing injury claims if you have lingering pain, lost wages or high medical bills.
With the right insurance and some perseverance, you can get your vehicle damage and any injuries fully covered after being the victim of a rear-end accident. Stay calm, report promptly, and let your insurer handle negotiations.
At-Fault Rear-End Accidents
If you were the one responsible for rear-ending another vehicle, the process is somewhat different:
You should still report to your insurer promptly, but liability rests with you now for the other party’s damages.
Apologize to the other driver but avoid discussing fault or making any compensation offers.
Your insurer will likely pay for repairs to the other vehicle if your liability coverage is sufficient.
Your premiums will now likely increase at renewal due to the at-fault claim.
You may need to pay your deductible if you have collision coverage and use it to fix your own vehicle.
Police citations, traffic school, lawsuits or higher insurance costs may result from an at-fault rear-end accident.
The best way to avoid this is by driving defensively and maintaining ample distance between cars to account for sudden stops. But if you do make a mistake and hit someone from behind, still report it immediately to your insurance provider.
Call your own insurer promptly after any rear-end accident to start the claims process.
Exchange contact/vehicle info and take photos at the scene. Have police file a report.
Not-at-fault rear-end claims shouldn’t impact your rates, but at-fault ones likely will.
The other driver’s liability insurance should pay for your damages if they hit you from behind.
Cooperate fully with your adjuster to facilitate repairs or total loss payment.
Seek medical treatment even for minor pain as symptoms can develop later.
Shop insurers at renewal to minimize any premium hike after a not-at-fault rear-end claim.
Being rear-ended can be upsetting but following the proper steps when reporting it to insurance can get your vehicle fixed and keep you protected. Stay calm, notify your provider, and let them handle negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurer.
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