May 30, 2013
No one expects to get into a car accident. Whether it is your fault or someone else’s it is always a surprise. Whether a fender bender or a serious accident, you should be prepared when you get into an accident. Certain things can help to prove that you were not at fault. This can also help your insurance company determine whether you vehicle needs extensive repair or whether the repair is minimal. If the repair is minimal, but the repair shop beefs up the repair, your rates could increase.
You should always have the following things in your vehicle in case you do have an accident.
Water: Keep a gallon of water in your vehicle in addition to a bottle or two of water. The gallon of water is for your vehicle. If you spring a leak in the radiator, but the leak is small enough so that the vehicle holds water for a few miles, you will have water to add to the radiator and may be able to drive the vehicle to your mechanic or home, thus saving money on the tow.
Keep bottled water in the vehicle for you. If you are in an accident, you may be stuck at the scene for some time and may become thirsty.
Camera: Most cell phones have decent cameras. A camera can help the police determine what happened should you have to move your vehicle out of the road. Pictures also help your insurance company with proving the damage. If your insurance company is the one that has to pay, the pictures will show the insurance adjuster exactly what happened, thus preventing insurance fraud. Many people will take a wrecked vehicle to a shop that boosts repairs. If you can prevent insurance fraud from the other person, you can help keep your rates lower.
If your cell phone doesn’t have a camera or the camera doesn’t take decent pictures, keep a disposable camera in the glove box. Because film goes stale, use the camera for something else after three or four months, and put a fresh camera in the glove box.
First Aid Kit: A first aid kit could come in handy if you or anyone else in your vehicle has minor cuts and scratches from the accident. While waiting for emergency medical technicians to arrive, you can clean up minor cuts, scratches and scrapes, especially if you have children that may have been injured.
Make sure the first aid kit is always replenished. Check expiration dates on creams and other items that may expire. Replace them as needed. Put a reminder on your calendar to check expiration dates every few months.
Kid Pack: A “kid pack” with extra diapers and formula or juice for babies or snacks and water for older children will come in handy should you find yourself stuck at an accident scene for some time. Keep toys or other items to keep uninjured children busy while you are speaking with the police or insurance adjuster.
Spare Tire: Always check your spare tire. If you get into an accident and the only damage is a tire, you can save a tow if your spare is good. It is easy enough to change the spare on the road yourself. Along with the spare, you should also have a jack and a lug wrench. These come with most new cars. If you purchase a used car, make sure these items are in the vehicle. If not, purchase a new jack and lug wrench.
Rags: Keep shop rags and a box of baby wipes in the car. They will come in handy if you have to change a tire — you will be able to remove most of the crud off your hands. Rags may also come in handy if you spill something in the vehicle. Clean rags, if kept in a plastic bag, are better than nothing if you have a gash where you need to apply pressure to stop bleeding.