Posted Jul 19th 2012 12:45PM
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