Article Note: This is a guest post from THE Wife, who has a car accident story to share. Yes, she’s OK. No, that is not the photo of her car accident (which was significantly less dramatic, fortunately). And Yes, I have forgiven her. She has since gotten in another accident, so I thought it best to highlight what to do when in an accident (before leaving the scene) to get the best result with insurance companies.
It was a nice sunny Saturday, Cinco de Mayo to be exact, and I was driving home from grocery shopping. Traffic was heavy as usual downtown, yet fluid in movement. Students from the local university were outside drinking, partying, and taking in the sun.
Then it happened. I absently took my eyes off the road and the car in front of me for a second to look to take in the scenery and when I looked back, the car in front me me had come to a quick stop. I slammed on the brakes, but it was not enough to prevent a car accident.
Thankfully no one was hurt. Numbers and dollar signs started running through my head, as typical for anyone who has been in an accident, but especially so for a wife of a personal finance blogger!
What is Worse than a Car Accident? A NEW Car Accident
Just a few months earlier, G.E. had highlighted the Tale of Grandy, our dying car, and the subsequent car hunt and negotiation strategy that had delivered a 2012 Malibu for almost $7,000 off MSRP.
That’s right, my first car accident story in over a decade just so happened to be with our brand new car!
Since I was only driving 25 mph, there was only exterior damage to the front bumper and head light and I was able to drive the car home from there just fine, but STILL!
I exchanged contact information with the other driver (who’s rear bumper only had a paint mark from my front bumper), we filed a police report, and I was then given a “failure to stop” ticket, which would later cost us $120.
A number of questions then started rushing through my mind:
“Will insurance cover damage repair since I am at fault?”
“Will a car accident raise our insurance rates?”
“Will the points from the ticket raise our insurance rates?”
“How much is the deductible for a car accident per our policy at Liberty Mutual?”
“Since we were not planning to keep this car long term, how will an accident show up in a Carfax report, and will it impact our resale value?”
“How will my husband react when he finds out?”
One thing I was sure of: this car accident was indeed going to be an expensive mistake.
Over the next few weeks, I learned a number of things about car accidents that I never had to deal with previously as my last accident was in high school and I was on my parent’s insurance policy.
Some of these tips have not been easy to find and are not the most intuitive, so as I work through them I want to share them with you in an upcoming post(s), including:
How to drop points and get insurance discounts by taking a defensive driver class, what type of insurance covers you if you are at fault in an accident, and accident forgiveness. Also, there’s a little known report called a CLUE report where any insurance claims will be added, that could impact your rates.
Meanwhile, what is your car accident story (if you’re comfortable reliving that moment), and what tips do you have to share, post accident?
I have two, also about 10 years apart. The most recent was at Arby’s. A guy came in the store and asked who had a blue Ford Fusion. In my head I thought “I have a 3 week old beautiful blue Ford Fusion.” Then I walked up to him, a 19 year old driving a new Jeep (thanks mommy). While backing up, he forgot that his car was super short and the turning radius was far too tight, which resulted in my rear fender being blown to smitherines. His fault since I was parked (and in the lines). I got it repaired, no cost to me, and I’m sure his mommy had a bigger insurance bill on her hands….mostly because when I was 16, I was backing out of a Wal-mart and hit a parked car (it was not parked legally, however this was still my fault). My car had zero damage, but the other car had both doors damaged; I’m fairly certain that this was some kind of insurance fraud, since I hit her only once, and there were two very distinct dents, one in each door. I did not have a mommy who thought it was smart to buy me a new car, or cover my insurance, so when my liability only insurance went up by $55/month, I felt it big time.
My first was on Christmas Eve my first year of college. My dad had a Santa Claus gig so I was his Elf, driving the new-to-me Salvage-title car my parents had bought for me earlier in the week ($1500). In the dark, a deer ran out and I sideswiped him, but never lost control and barely was pushed off course. He hit my hood, drivers door & mirror, back passenger door, and rear panel before running into a field. Cost-wise it totaled the car, but it ran fine, and we continued to my dad’s gig. Looking back, we laugh thinking that he should have walked into the police station to report hitting a reindeer (since he was in costume).
My second was much more scary, as I was following my fiance as we moved from one city to another (I was carrying the cat). I hit a patch of black ice & lost control on the Interstate. Luckily, the other cars managed to avoid me as I whipped back & forth before coming to a stop thanks to a culvert in the ditch. The cat was untouched & I made it out with minor scratches from broken glass and a couple minor chipped teeth (the day before graduation), but this time the car was a lost cause and we let it go to the junkyard. No charges were filed in either accident, and I was on my parents insurance for both. My fiance and I bought me a used car for $3000 and it is still going strong today.
I had one just over a year ago that still haunts me. Hit something (black ice? frozen rain?) and went into a ditch, flipped, rolled, the whole gambit. Car was totaled. I was ok.
Like in the story above, I also thought of “oh no, I really don’t want to afford this right now!” but we did.
I was lucky that my insurance company gave me a “freebie” or accident forgiveness. But, since I got a ticket, the rates still went up (although it took 2 cycles, be aware of that).
I then bought a new (to me) car within a week – probably not the best decision but at the time we needed two cars and I was in the middle of exam week. The car I have now is good, but not my favorite.
I also had one when younger, hit a tree – we just took the car off the insurance record and it didn’t impact anything.
My wife an I were coming home from the grocery store. We were driving down a residential road (25 mph) and the oncoming car crossed the centerline. Luckily, I was able to get the car turned enough to avoid a head on collision, but the other driver totaled my car. To make matters more complicated, the other motorist had no insurance and was driving on a revoked license. I had been in one accident before while I was in high school but I definitely learned a lot about the car insurance and my insurance company.
Biggest tip I can share from my experience is stay calm. The first thing to determine is if anyone is hurt and if so, get them medical attention needed. My side airbags deployed, but I felt fine so I refused medical attention. Three days later I was heading to the doctor. If your in an accident severe enough to deploy airbags, you should get checked out. After that, call the police to get the accident documented. Finally, call your insurance company. The details of the accident will be the most clear immediately after and you’ll want to start the process as quickly as possible to capture any required information about the accident.
The first accident that took place with my vehicle was when a grandfather was trying to teach his 14 yr old grand daughter how to drive. I was parked at my mothers house for Sunday dinner and her comes the car turning the corner and slammed dead smacked into my car. Thank God I was parked and in the house eating dinner. Come to find out the license plate on the car did not belong, the tags were expired and no insurance to the car. I did not have to pay a deductible.
Second accident took place a month later. I was leaving work and in the middle lane(turn lane). Waiting for traffic to clear out of no where a car comes flying down the middle lane on her telephone and hit me. I couldn’t move because I would have hit a car. I called the police and insurance company. The officer said we were both equally responsible and did not give either driver a ticket. A year and three months later my insurance went up and I received driver points.