by Kayla Bachelder, Concierge Agent, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance
A couple of years ago, my mother in law gave me her 2006 Toyota Camry. Barely 6 months later, the car met its demise. Totaled by a motorcycle. The man who hit me head-on was lucky enough to walk away with his life. His bike, and my Camry: both totaled.
Even though I work in insurance every day, I learned a lot about car insurance from my auto accident .
- Think twice before dropping collision coverage
As your vehicle gets older, it’s tempting to drop collision coverage to save money. I figured that if the Camry was ever totaled, I would probably just get another new vehicle instead of paying the deductible to “fix” it.
But keeping the collision on my older vehicle was one of my best decisions. Without collision coverage, I would have waited months for the motorcycle owner’s insurance to pay the claim. I submitted the collision claim to my insurance company. Two days later, I had the money for a new car in my bank account. This allowed me to immediately go out and shop for a car with a large down payment.
- Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention.
The night of the accident I was filled with adrenaline. I was in hysterics. I did after all just collide with a man on a motorcycle. I couldn’t comprehend at that time that he had run into me. I thought I had run into him.
I told the police, paramedics and firefighters that I was ok. I refused an ambulance. The next morning, I woke in severe pain. I could barely turn my head from side to side. I had to have physical therapy for weeks and was out of work for a few days due to a concussion.
Get checked out after a motor vehicle accident. You never know what may be going on with your body!
- Rental vehicle coverage is a lifesaver
After the accident, I had no car. My husband still had to go to work. I still had to go about my regular life. Being without a car for even two days was life changing!
Some insurance companies quote $20 a day rental coverage. Maybe they think the lower price increases the likelihood of a sale. Some even quote no rental coverage at all! Be careful. If you drive an SUV or large truck you might only be able to afford to rent a sub-compact. That too, my friends, will be life changing.
- Be careful who you let drive your vehicles
The man who hit me was not driving his own motorcycle. Yes, the accident will be on the driver’s Motor Vehicle Report. But the claim was paid out by his friend’s insurance company. You can imagine what a large accident involving injuries and two totaled vehicles did to his insurance rates.
- We are lucky that Maine requires auto insurance
Vehicle owners are required to show proof of insurance to register a vehicle. This means that almost all vehicles on the road are insured. Of course there are a few out there that sneak around without it.
What would have happened if the driver didn’t have any insurance? My Maine auto insurance includes uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Yours does, too. This helps cover you when another driver doesn’t have insurance and causes an accident. We live very close to the New Hampshire border where they don’t need to carry insurance! Scary! If an uninsured driver hits you, your UM coverage will pay your medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
What to Do After an Accident
Here are some things you can do to help yourself, your claim adjuster and your insurance agent. If you can’t do these, don’t worry about it. The most important thing is to stay safe and healthy.
- Take photos of the damage if you can. The night of my accident became a blur. I couldn’t take photos, but because the police were involved, they took many photos.
- Get as much information as possible at the scene. Ask for the other driver’s name, address, phone number and insurance information. If police respond, get the officer’s name and the police report number. These are all helpful for your insurance company. If you can’t get all this information, don’t stress about it. Your agent can still help.
- Calm down before driving away. Being in an accident, even a small fender bender can really shake up your nerves. If you need to park your car and get a ride from someone else, do it.
- It’s OK to get damage appraised before deciding whether to make a claim. Just don’t get it fixed first! One exception: immediately report an accident in which someone is injured. Do not delay.
- It is never too late to call in a claim. Did you hit a pothole that was much deeper than you thought? Did you notice the damage to the side panel a week later? That’s ok, you can still call it in. Your independent agent can help you decide whether you want to make a claim.
WARNING: did you buy your policy from a company agent (who works for only one insurer)? Or from an insurer’s web site or 800 number? When you call those companies, you’re speaking directly to the insurer. As soon as you mention an accident, they make a claim record on your policy. Even if you’re only looking for advice. Even if you decide not to make a claim, it’s on your record. That can increase the price you pay for insurance in the future – even if that insurer never pays a dime. That’s a good reason to work with an independent insurance agent.
Have Questions About Maine Auto Insurance?
Live in Southern Maine? Contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you. We write policies for multiple insurance companies but represent you. That means we can give you advice that’s best for you, not the insurance company. It also means that we offer a choice of Maine’s preferred insurance companies.
Looking for Maine auto insurance quotes, but not ready to talk to an agent just yet? You can compare Maine car insurance quotes from as many as 5 insurance companies in 10 minutes on our web site.