Be prepared

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Mad Mallard, May 14, 2005.

  1. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    [updated for summer 13]

    I've been in emergency claims and disaster reporting for 10+ years now o_O, and it still astounds me the consistency of ignorance I deal with.

    For the summer(and winter) season, alot of manic people who don't belong behind the wheel will in fact be behind a wheel, regardless of weather YOU are ready for them. So, here's some stuff I've learned;

    Mad Mallard's "Be Prepared" Guide
    There are a few things you should do as an educated and responsible driver to protect yourself in case of an accident BEFORE it happens. Not doing at least a couple of these is just asking for trouble or delays later.

    1: If you dont have a recent smartphone. Keep a disposable camera w/flash in your glovebox.
    here's why:
    A: In most states and by all highway patrols, you are expected by law to get out of the road if you can still move your car. But what if the positions of the cars show it's not your fault? The cop may believe the other guy instead of you when he gets there and finds you pulled off to the side of the road. If you don't have photographic evidence, then you will have a seriously tough time in most cases putting up your word against there's, because without the officer's charge that it was his fault, you have to settle it in civil matters.
    B: If it IS your fault, you should take pictures to reflect EXACTLY what damage you caused. It is not uncommon that the other party can argue (and win) in civil court that other damage that was already there was actually caused by you. Without a witness or a photograph to illustrate otherwise(or possibly a professional review), it's your word against them.
    C: Hit and run. If you suck at catching plates, have that throw away ready.
    D: Good citizenship: Having a camera handy is good in case a crime goes down in front of you.
    E: note, your cellphone camera may be okay some times, but if you are in the accident the likelyhood of it being thrown and lost from wherever its mounted or resting is higher than you think. A camera in the glovebox isn't likely to go anywhere.

    2: Keep a copy of your state registration, insurance card/policy, and lien or lease holder paperwork AT HOME, and have a family member or a trusted friend know where to get it.
    here's why:
    a: if your car is impounded or towed away and you don't have access to it, it could add weeks to getting insurance claims rolling if you don't have all that info.
    b: if, heaven forbid, you're injured/stranded/incapacitated, someone else can get that process started for you if you have that paperwork in a readily available.
    c: if your car is destroyed or stolen and your only copy of the data is in the glove box, you'll be in trouble.
    e: note, you can also have your friends take a digital photo of your tag, or you can do that yourself if you don't remember your tag easily (as well as your vin plate).

    3:Wear the damn seatbelt.
    If you're that worried about being trapped in a sinking lake or something, you can buy a tool at most auto parts stores that cuts right through the belt in case of emergency(and even have a window breaker on the other end) for less than a $20.
    note: if you have installed a harness, the debate is ongoing if it is better or worse for street-accidents than a simple stock belt-shoulder strap. Regardless of that, the race harness is better than wearing nothing; wear it if its there.

    4:If you're modding, keep detailed receipts and photographs of your mods.
    here's why:
    a:most of the time, your own insurance company WON'T cover mods beyond the aftermarket stereo(and in some cases not even that), not without buying more coverage. But if it's the other guy's(girl's) fault, their company will stick you with strictly STOCK repair costs if you don't make the case that other than stock damage resulted.
    b:if your car is the target of theft, know that thieves try to fence stuff in the first month and usually not too far from when and where they stole it. Having pics & docs lets you put the word out to fellow gearheads, as well as police.

    5:If the police are called, follow their instructions, and give them your information. But even if police make a report, always write down as much of the other guy's info as you can get on your own.
    Police may complete a report, but often times their municipality doesn't actually do their paperwork or make it available to you for up to a week. They may not even give you an accident report number. So if the cop is the only one who took the other guy's information, and your vehicle can't be driven because of the other guy, then you'll have to wait a while to get the other guy's insurance info to make your claim on him.
    note: its becoming more common for police(especially state pd) to not even respond to 2 vehicle accidents with no injury. Don't rely only on them.

    6a: Don't confuse your insurance with 'roadside assistance.'
    Warranty coverage, insurance coverage, and 'service plans' are 3 entirely different things.

    You may have "towing coverage" on your insurance, but this is not the same as a "roadside assistance plan." Meaning; your insurance company may not have a handy list of tow truck companies they call for you. Towing coverage is exclusive to just hauling the vehicle somewhere, and the company pays for limited mileage, usually in 50 mile intervals. Anything over that, the tow company will charge you the difference.

    Don't call up your insurance company at 2:00am and expect them to send you a wrecker, not unless the insurance company specifically sells you 'roadside assistance' with your insurance. If you're concerned about being prepared, then get secondary towing insurance. It can cost as little as a few dollars a month from some places like gasoline credit card companies. (BP, Chevron, etc)

    6b: Don't confuse a roadside assistance plan with towing coverage.
    "Roadside assistance" is actually a service plan. Usually they bundle a bunch of services like locksmithing, glass repair, out of gas, AND towing into one package, offer access to it 24-7 thru a hotline, and charge you monthly for it. This is not insurance, (tho sometimes insurance companies sell you this instead of towing coverage.)

    If you have roadside assistance, you MUST follow the plan rules to have it paid for, (unless the plan says they have no service in that area.) If you use your own tow company and try to have the roadside assistance plan cover it, they may refuse to pay for it on the basis of them already having a tow company in the area. Remember, its a service plan, not insurance.

    7: Some insurance may be invalid if your accident is your fault in a particular circumstance.
    If you drive high, drunk, or otherwise DUI, and you're in an accident, the company may completely deny covering you. Also if you have a suspended or expired license, expired registration, if the authorities write a ticket or detail an accident that your car was not road worthy when it was being driven, certain criminal charges relating to the accident; then the insurance company can make the court case that your coverage is invalid as you didn't satisfy that you were legally privileged to drive.

    8: (i'm not a doctor, so read this one with skepticism.) Injury from accidents are very tricky. If you need help getting out of your car, you're likely to need further medical care than whats at the scene, so thats an easy case. But if you're up and walking around, you still may not be able to gauge your level of injury correctly. Regard the following things that are hard to tell without outside help:
    a: Equilibrium. You may have more serious injury if your short term hearing, vision, or sense of balance seems 'off,' even if you feel okay and are walking around.
    b: Wounds, especially from biting tongue or cut from glass debris, aren't often felt either due to shock or adrenaline.
    c: If the impact in an accident deploys any of your airbags, or your seatbelt restrains you, expect to feel pretty bad within 24 hours even if you're fine at the scene. Maybe start taking a schedule of otc pain relievers starting that nite (at the guidance of your primary doctor).

    9: Don't make the scene worse with your reaction.
    It sounds trite, but keeping your cool can be the difference between an easy liability claim and a long drawn out civil suit; the difference between an exchange of info, and an exchange of lead. You should expect the other person to be at least as shocked as you are, and possibly confused as well. Save your righteous indignation for FB or the forum. Dont even bother concerning yourself with a discussion on at fault while still at the scene.

    10: Many major metro police municipalities don't write reports for less than 3 cars, or for non-injury anymore.
    You need to expect to get the details of everything yourself, from the location to the other people's names. (I'm finding this more and more common about the police from my position in the callcenter).

    11: Contemplate installing an in-car dvr/camera. Since I first wrote this guide, the cost of such technology has basically shrunk down to less than a car payment. There is even hardware and apps for using your iphone/itouch, or android device in this manner.

    Use of this technology can be invaluable for making claims, especially roadhazard, and road debris claims which are often against the government. It can also be useful for a fair monitoring of an encounter with law enforcement.

    However, keep in mind, a video record from your car CAN be demanded in court as part of a discovery motion and if you refuse to provide it, you will be in contempt. So for some of you who are honest about their driving habits, such a device may not be in your best interest.

    Calculate carefully any flirting with the idea of dwd. Driving while dumb.[/i]

    text limit reached
    Last edited: May 1, 2013
  2. Alex

    Alex Community Founder Staff Member

    Good advice, pretty much the things that I feel everyone should know.
  3. miloman

    miloman Retired Admin

    yeah... thanks for the write up... some of those things seem obvious after reading them but i never would have done them
  4. BelvnAWD

    BelvnAWD I'm Vin, Bell-Vin...

    And some of us know all those things and fail to do them because we try to be nice to the other person. I can tell you after this fiasco with the lady that backed into me, I will continue to be courteous, but I will always be filing a police report, no matter how minor the damage...
  5. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    oops forgot a couple things
    Last edited: May 23, 2009
  6. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    bump time. Pay attention out there, gang
  7. gt9729b

    gt9729b Member

    Excellent post. Thanks for the great information.
  8. knhtrdr

    knhtrdr Active Member

    Thanks, really good info that i wish I knew when had my altima. was his fault totaled my car his ticket got dropped to a warning wtf? and on top of that had cheap insurance (acceptance) and was still paying for a car I didn't have for the rest of the year. I couldn't even take him to court cause I couldn't find the one witness I found to go to court.
  9. miloman

    miloman Retired Admin

    thanks kanchou
  10. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    Reminder bump, bad weather drivers are everywhere, watchout.
  11. WRX_SVXGirl

    WRX_SVXGirl Member

    thanks for the great post! i have to remember to pick up our police report this week. we took pictures but zach didnt save them even though our car wasnt all that damaged.
  12. SonicBoom

    SonicBoom Active Member

    Great post... all good stuff...
  13. blindsideair

    blindsideair Member

    TY for the helpful info.
  14. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    np. Hey, it may not occur to most folk, so i figured I'll point it out regularly. :)
  15. Eco Auto Clean

    Eco Auto Clean Active Member

    Thank you for the ever so helpful advice! Hopefully we can all stay clear from having to use any of it for a long long long time!
  16. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    winter bump. man, been on this board over 3 years already...
  17. FACE

    FACE Active Member

    Very nice write up and great advice :)
  18. flat4ever666

    flat4ever666 Member

    this should be a sticky
  19. BlackAndBlue

    BlackAndBlue Member

  20. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    reminder necro bump, have a safe Memorial weekend.
  21. nicad

    nicad Yes I am a troll

    will do! I'll be working :unamused:
  22. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    Yeah, me too. guess what I do for a livin still. ;p
  23. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    Been a few months, figured I'd drag this out again.

    Since the last update, i've done a @#$@#-ton of Property Claims too...(between our 100 year floods, and ridiculous snow levels, thanks global warming)

    been contemplating making a similar write-up for home owners and their insurance.
  24. Matt

    Matt Think before you post Staff Member Supporting Member

    fixed it for bold. :p
  25. Alex

    Alex Community Founder Staff Member

    You should, I am sure new homeowners like myself would find it useful.
  26. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    i figure many of the users here have 'grown up' since I posted this and likely own homes now. ;p
  27. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    dusting it off. Lots of 'company car' drivers out there doing recreational driving now...

    added a section
  28. vegasbomber

    vegasbomber New Member

    this is very usefull information. i know that when i got into an accident in my wifes car 2 weeks ago i was worried about not getting the other parties info... but luckly the cops here got the report done in 1 day and i was able to pick it up the day after. i wish i read these tips before that then i would of been more in control and informed.. thanks for having this up.. i copied it to a file for future reference and passed it along to some family members...
  29. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    no problem

    and if anyone sees a gap in my information, plz feel free to correct/fill it in. :]
  30. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    Weather change, experience, and the madness up north making me update and bump.

    Enjoy Halloween parties~
  31. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    Hey where did that thread go where someone bought an onboard dash-camera type thing for around $200? was that around here?

    I want to add that to the root post.

    also, minor update for summer.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2012
  32. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

  33. Alex

    Alex Community Founder Staff Member

    I'm not sure if it was stated before, but all drivers should consider purchasing AAA. It is also important the you stress to the wrecker coming to pick up your car that you absolutely positively must have a flat bed. There no ifs ands or buts unless you want to add a few thousand to your existing repair bill.
  34. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    can't believe I overlooked that, thx ^^
  35. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    reminder as the weather warms up. also, a section will be written about passengers involved in being prepared for accidents shortly.
  36. Smokin_Joe

    Smokin_Joe Member

    I'lll add one MORE item

    Please add this to your list on the first page (i just found this topic).

    I was a claims adjuster for Progressive for 5 years. I was a Level 2 Property Damage and Injury rep. I've totaled hundreds of cars and managed large loss injury claims.

    THE MOST IMPORTANT COVERAGE YOU CAN HAVE: Uninsured/UnderInsured Motorist Coverage

    This coverage will cover you when the other insurance company denies your claim.

    Too many people these days driving around town w/o insurance.

  37. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    ^^ good suggestions, but I kinda just focused on the actual scene preparedness.
  38. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    txt limit reached in orig post.


    What if I'm just a passenger riding with the bozo who got in a wreck?

    As an extended party, you actually will have more work to do to figure things out than you may realise. As a passenger, NOBODY is your direct advocate in a 2 vehicle accident.

    So if you're riding shotgun in a wreck, consider the following after you've made sure you havent been dealt a critical injury:

    1: if you are affected, either in injury or in property, you need to get the insurance info of EVERY driver at play, not just the one you're riding with. Even if its the other person's fault, there is NO guarantee that they'll even know you were riding in the car if you dont advocate for yourself. And also, the driver you're riding with may never even tell their insurance company, so don't assume that they will all be talking with eachother automatically.

    2: no insurer in an accident specifically represents your interests. In the end, you are your only advocate & should not expect to rely on anyone else other than a lawyer to act on your specific interests as a priority.

    The police had my car towed because it was blocking traffic. Now what?

    If you're blocking traffic, police will typically not give you the chance to use your own roadside assistance.

    When the police arrange for your tow, they have usually contracted with a local tow company so that they can 'cut in line' ahead of any and all tow services. These tow companies then take custody of your vehicle on behalf of the police and will not release them to ANYONE until they are paid for their services.

    If you have insurance, you can usually get this paid for, but if the wreck happens on the weekend, you may not be able to get any claims through your insurance until Monday.

    Meaning, no car for you. They also will not let you 'get anything' out of the car because the tow company is liable for its condition in its care.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
  39. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    bump. I'm still doing this claims thing after all these years, and with the holiday travel bump i'm getting, its time to bug you all about this again.
  40. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    bonus insurance tip:

    if transportation reliability is key to you, you may opt for roadside assistance to help you with towing. Many times your insurance company may offer an affordable option.

    however, if you expect the possibility to use roadside more than twice a year, you should look into an independent roadside provider from your primary insurance company.

    If you have state farm, consider AAA for roadside. and if you have AAA for insurance, look elsewhere for a roadside plan.

    this is because even though these are 'service plans' and not strictly speaking insurance policies, the insurance carriers can and do use these to factor in how much you pay for coverage.
  41. J-Rad

    J-Rad New Member

    Brand new member here, and I just poured over this thread. A TON of good info, and I thank you deeply for it. Some of this I knew from experience, some I sorta figured, but a fair amount was new and insightful info. Going to take a lot of this into consideration if (when :eek:hnoes: ) I ever get into another accident.
  42. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    no problem. I see so much just at my job that would help, even from a remote location, that I felt like sharing.

    Please, anyone with questions, i'm not an adjuster, but I touch about 99% of all the same things adjusters do, and then some backend stuff they don't, so I'll try to answer.
  43. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    dusting it off again and adding stuffs.

    The police had my car towed because it was blocking traffic. Now what?

    If you're blocking traffic, police will typically not give you the chance to use your own roadside assistance.

    When the police arrange for your tow, they have usually contracted with a local tow company so that they can 'cut in line' ahead of any and all tow services. These tow companies then take custody of your vehicle on behalf of the police and will not release them to ANYONE until they are paid for their services.

    If you have insurance, you can usually get this paid for, but if the wreck happens on the weekend, you may not be able to get any claims through your insurance until Monday.

    Meaning, no car for you. They also will not let you 'get anything' out of the car because the tow company is liable for its condition in its care.

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