Nobody ever expects to be involved in a automobile accident. But, if it does happen, the first few minutes after a wreck can often be the most important for securing the details, i.e. exchanging information in order to pursue repairs to your vehicle, or receive compensation for medical bills or other expenses. However, a car accident can be stressful and emotionally taxing, making it difficult to remember all the information that is important to collect – especially if you or the other party has suffered an injury. An accident preparedness kit is easy to create and keep in your glove compartment in the event of a wreck.
The first step in creating an accident preparedness kit is to collect information you will need in the event of an accident. A good place to start is your automobile insurance policy that includes your coverage details, your policy number, and the company’s telephone number should you need it for any reason. Having this information on hand will save time and allow you to provide the other party or parties with the information they’ll need. You may also want to create a summary sheet of the information they will need, with your contact information and policyholder information. Being able to provide a pre-prepared sheet will help to you avoid missing any pertinent information.
In an age where everyone has a mobile phone, and every mobile phone has a built-in camera, it may not occur to someone to keep a “low-tech” backup option handy. Inexpensive and easy to keep in your console or glove box, a disposable camera may be quite useful at the scene of an accident. In the event your phone not be with you, or should it be uncharged, or damaged in the accident, you will still be able to take photographs of the damage to your vehicle, as well as the other party’s. Take photographs of any damage, including damage not caused by the current accident. Doing so will ensure any damage previous to the accident will not be called into question, or added to a claim the other party makes with the insurance agent or in any civil proceeding.
The final important piece in your accident preparedness kit should be easily accessible medical information. This should include policy information for you (and any members of your family who regularly travel in your car), as well as contact information for family doctors, and any allergies or sensitivities first responders should be aware of. If you regularly transport your children or other dependants in the car, be sure to list their names and year of birth, so that responders can be sure which child they are treating. In the event you are in a serious accident, and cannot interact with medical personnel, your information will still be readily available. In addition, add this information to your mobile phone, with the prefix ICE (meaning “in case of emergency”). Many first responders are trained to look for information to identify the operator of the car and try to locate your emergency contacts to assist in your care. While a police officer could get this information from the license information on your car, it will not provide information for your potential passengers.
Taking a few precautionary steps now can save valuable time and confusion later, and make capturing the details and receiving care easier should you suffer the misfortune of a car accident.