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One Thing You Should Never Say Following A Car Accident

Posted Jul 19th 2012 12:45PM

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Being involved in a car crash is a traumatic experience and the confusing few minutes following the incident are critical to protecting yourself, your driving record and your insurance rates. How you handle the situation could lead to a more expensive mistake.

After any collision, driver's often meet to exchange information and assess any damage done. During this time it may seem appropriate to instinctively say, "I'm so sorry." While it sounds courteous and sincere, it's something that drivers should avoid saying at the scene.

That's the advice of car insurance expert Natalie Dupuis of RBC Auto Insurance in Toronto.

"That might not be the best thing to do," she tells The Globe and Mail. Such a statement could be interpreted as an admission of guilt when police and investigators determine fault for the collision. It could be the beginning of an expensive mistake – whether it comes up again in terms of setting insurance rates or as testimony in a court case.

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Failing to alert your insurance company after a crash can also turn into very costly mistake. A lot of drivers, weary of watching their rates increase, often decide not to contact their insurance company and pay for damage out of their own pocket versus making an insurance claim. Dupuis cautions driver's against this approach.

She says what most people don't know is that drivers can always call their insurance company for advice, and then determine if it's worth making a claim or not. Also, there's never a guarantee the other driver will follow through on promises to pay for damages.

"A major misconception that people have is that if they alert their insurance company of an accident, their rates will automatically rise," she tells The Globe and Mail. "If you were not at fault, your rates should not go up."

Other tips of advice following a car crash:

- Exchange information with other drivers involved.

- Obtain contact information of witnesses.

- Don't sign any documents at the scene, other than the official police report.


Photo Credit: shino, Flickr

News Source: AOL Autos

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11 Comments

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pwspoints

My point was clearly made by ianbery's event noted below. If you call your insurance company, even for advice, you will pay for it regardless. It is the Insurance Companies that try to ensure people don't apologize to keep them off the hook.

April 28 2013 at 2:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ianberyl

I slid into a thin metal post in the companies parking lot in the 1970's, it broke my mirror off. I left it as it was for about a month then the wife nagged to get it fixed. As I was out of town a lot & had never in my 30 yrs driving never had an accident so I phoned the insurance company to see if I claimed would my rates would go up....Yes they said , so I got a mirror from the auto wreckers and fixed it myself.
A couple of months later when my ins premium was due I found it had increaded 5%. When I phoned and asked why they said "its because you had an accident"!!!!!!. I said no as I had by now forgotten about the mirror. They said yes you did, you hit a metal post.. I said but I did not claim. They said it makes no difference you reported an accident to us so it increses. Yes and it did for the next 5 yrs I carried the cost of that phone call. Never ever trust an insurance company. The biggest crooks out.

December 24 2012 at 8:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PETER

Once again, lawyers make the world a hostile and unfriendly place. Oh, for the old days....

December 23 2012 at 8:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Conix

Is this why when a driver rear ends me doesn't say sorry to me, because they are trained to do so? Better yet, are they also being advised to dump all the fault on the other driver, whether or not it was their own fault? This is getting ridiculous. Saying SORRY for your own mistake shouldn't make any difference in the end. If it does, something is VERY wrong here.

September 28 2012 at 8:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Conix's comment
Carol-Lynne Lloyd

Unfortunately, in this day and age, the simple words "I'm sorry" could mean a million dollar law suit, even if you were not at fault and just trying to make the other person feel better. Its a sucky thing to have people out there that just want that quick money at any cost! :(

December 23 2012 at 11:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Adrian

@pwspoints, actually you incorrect, if you read your insurance policy it cleary states "DO NOT MAKE admit liability" this falls under the catagory of saying "I'm sorry, I didnt see you..., are you ok?" ou are legally obliggated to answer any question a Police officer ask you, but yor own personal feelings are irrelevant. Sorry bud but thts just a simple fact

September 02 2012 at 9:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Adrian's comment
Adrian

sorry typo "DO NOT MAKE any admissions of liability".... The insurance company/police will do that for themselves

September 02 2012 at 9:34 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Adrian

Also, one of the reasons why insurance is so high in Canada, is you guys SUCK at driving, I've seen so many maniacs here its unbelievable, on any day on the 401, see how many people, sit on the outside lanes at 100, then encourage people to drive 5ft away from there bumper!!!

And NO your insurance does NOT go up simply because you ring through, ONLY if youo make a claim, an THEN only if your at fault,

Jeez, do yourself a favour a do a little research

September 02 2012 at 9:38 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Adrian's comment
ianberyl

Oh YES it will, read my case I just posted.

December 24 2012 at 8:21 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
hedgetrimmer

CRAP

July 22 2012 at 4:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pwspoints

That is such nonsense. Dupuis either does not live in the real world or is simply a paid "talking head" for the insurance industry. Advising people to refrain from saying "I'm sorry" is a clear example of how much the insurance industry has a strangle hold on the motoring public. It is the main reason why provinces in Canada have had to enact legislation to prevent insurance companies from taking advantage of situations by declining claims or hiking rates simply because people have said they were sorry. Furthermore, calling your insurance company for advice does go against you. Insurance companies record that information and will then make THEIR interpretation, which will follow you regardless or whether or not you change companies. Dupuis's comments are entirely geared towards protecting the insurance industry, usually at the customer's expense. From the industry's perspective, a claim, is a claim, is a claim.

July 20 2012 at 3:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply