Help Needed Far from Home: What Happens if I’m in an Accident in Another State?
Vacations can be a blast, and for some, hitting the open road in your car to visit another state can be a huge part of the fun itself. But, if you are out of state and get involved in a car accident, that fun can come to an immediate halt…literally.
Car accidents are certainly no fun no matter where they happen, but if you are involved in one while out of state, you may be unsure of exactly what to do. So, what happens and what should you do if you are in a car accident while in another state?
The short answer is, what you should do and what will happen will be similar to if you were in an accident in your own state, with just a few possible exceptions. If you are involved in a car accident anywhere, you should:
- Seek medical attention if necessary-Obviously if you are injured, then seeking medical attention immediately is vital. Use an ambulance if transporting yourself is not an option. Keep all receipts of any medical bills or payments made.
- Exchange information-After the accident, make sure to exchange personal and insurance information with the other driver. This will include your license info, insurance info, as well as personal address and phone number. You may also give this information to any police or medical teams who are at the accident site.
- Contact your insurance company-In addition to the above, make sure to contact your insurance company as soon as possible to give them a detailed report of the accident. They will walk you through your next steps and help you secure the assistance you need no matter what state you are in.
While most of the claim will be handled in another state the same as it would be in your home state, there may be a few differences depending on exactly where the accident happened. Two such differences involve what type of insurance exists in that state, and the process of getting your car repaired.
- No-Fault insurance State-If your state is not a NO-FAULT insurance state, then how the claim is handled by the insurance company may differ. In a no-fault state, each person’s insurance policy will take care of any damage to their own vehicle, regardless of who is at fault. This does not mean you don’t have the ability to collect additional damages from the other driver if they were at fault (such as in the case of a drunk driving or reckless driving claim) but it may dictate how repairs and reimbursement for injury is handled at least initially.
- Car towing/repair facility-Another issue or difference that can arise when you have a car accident in another state involves towing your vehicle and the repair facility you will use to repair your car. First, your insurance will not pay to tow your vehicle to your home state. This bill would be enormous and the rule of thumb is that insurance will normally pay to tow your vehicle to the nearest facility that can repair your vehicle (if there are several and the distance is negligible you may choose another facility in most cases) So, if you have a favorite auto repair center in your state, and you want your car repaired there, you would have to pay the difference in cost to get your vehicle there out of your own pocket.
The bottom line here is, if you have an accident in another state, don’t panic. Just proceed as you would normally and allow your insurance company to help guide you through the process to get you and your vehicle back on the road as quickly as possible.