October 16, 2010

Car Accident 101

Ever have one of those days when you feel so completely blessed to be alive?  This last couple of months has reminded me how blessed I am every day.  

On September 2nd I was in a six car pile-up that totaled my Honda Odyssey.  No one involved was seriously injured, and aside from nightly headaches I am doing really well.  

A HUGE **THANK YOU** goes out to the person or people who invented crumple zones!

The accident has been a good reminder of all the wonderful things we need to have on hand in case of a car accident.  Here is a quick list for those of us who could use a reminder:

  • Car Insurance Info
    • agent's phone number
    • insurance company's phone number 
    • insurance policy number
  • Car Registration
  • Driver's License Info
  • A list of emergency contacts
  • A list of allergies and current medications
  • Pen and paper
  • A camera

I keep all of the information in my glove box in a plastic check holder. Each section is separated out by category with Insurance and Registration information in the front of the file for easy access.  I have other sections to so I can keep track of things like car repairs and service contracts.

I used to keep a disposable camera in the glove compartment too, but since my cell phone has a camera I no longer have a disposable in the vehicle.

It is a really good idea to know what kind of car insurance you have. Check to make sure things like car rentals and property damage (like car seats and computers) are covered. When an accident occurs that involves more than one car the claims will usually go through your insurance first and you and your insurance company will be reimbursed by the insurance company of the person who hit you.  Be prepared to pay your deductible out of pocket and be reimbursed later.

When you are hit, especially if you are on the freeway, STAY in your vehicle and call 911.  The operator will dispatch you to the police department.  In the accident I was involved in, several of the people involved got out of their cars and almost created another accident. 

DO NOT DISCUSS the accident with the other people that were involved.  You can see if they are okay, but if you start discussing the accident, our minds will fill in details that weren't really there and then the police and the insurance company  won't have the most accurate account of what happened.

The first phone call to make is to 911.
Then call your emergency contact and your insurance company.

 Next time I will go over how to keep all the paperwork straight and how to deal with multiple insurance companies (so much fun!)


  1. 1. Where did you get that cute check holder? I've been looking around since I first read this and can't find one I like.

    2. What do the labels say? I can only read the first two.

    I want to totally copy your system!

  2. I got the check holder at Wal-Mart, but you can also get them at Target, Big Lots, Staples and Office Depot. I usually find them in the office supply / school supply section or in the Dollar Discount section.

    The tabs are: Insurance, Registration, Maintenance, Maps, Phone Numbers
    I separated out my Maintenance section into service center agreements...Discount Tire, Car Wash, Oil Service (Each has its own tab.)

    Think about places that you will need to have "proof of service" if you were to have a problem away from home. Label your maintenance tabs accordingly.

    Let me know if you can't find a check holder. I will get some additional sources.

  3. “The accident has been a good reminder of all the wonderful things we need to have on hand in case of a car accident.” – That was some reminder! But I think everything happens for a reason. In your case, the accident taught you to be prepared for this kind of situation. Car accidents are hard to predict, but that is why we should be on our toes all the time.