What if You’re Involved in an Out of State Accident?
Away from Home and a Crashed Car
Even getting in a minor fender bender near home is super stressful. But now that road trip season is upon us, there will likely be far more accidents from those who are out-of-town. Whether you are traveling away from Billings, or you are coming here to visit friends and family, our goal is to make sure you have peace of mind and everything is handled smoothly.
So what happens if you’re in an accident and you’re far from home? Do you know how your insurance will work, how to find the best repair shop, and how to make sure it’s all taken care of (hopefully) before you head home? Here’s what you should know.
Double Check Your Insurance
Before you head out on your trip, call your agent to make sure your coverage is all up-to-date. Most policies will cover you no matter where you are in the US or Canada, but some won’t. You may even want to consider beefing up your policy temporarily while you travel (lower deductibles, higher med pay).
Double Check Your Route
Being familiar with the route will help minimize the chance of accidents. If you haven’t been there a number of times, don’t rely on your GPS to give you turn by turn directions. Instead, know the route, know your exit, and be prepared before you have to “TURN RIGHT NOW!”
Minimize Your Distractions
Traveling with kids can be hard. When you’re on the highway and it’s just a straight shot those distractions don’t seem quite as irritating. When you’re searching for exits and missing turns onto one-way streets, your blood pressure can soar! Hand out books, iPads, games, and the like just before the stressful parts of the trip.
Document, Document, Document!
In the event of an accident, you’re not going to be familiar with the area. You won’t remember that it was 2 lanes and not 3; or that the accident happened just after 8th street, right in front of the Joe to Go Coffee Shop. Take way more pictures than you think you will need, and make sure to:
- Call the police and make a report. Get a copy as soon as it’s available
- Take pictures of both vehicles, get insurance information from the other driver (take a picture of the card).
- If possible, make a video recording; especially if the other driver is at fault. In the heat of the moment they are likely to admit fault, and then try to change their story later.
- Video or voice record witness statements; get their contact information.
- Write down, or record, what happened in your own words.
The more records you have, the stronger your case will be if things end up in court.
Use a Local Doctor
Many accidents cause injuries. Many of those injuries show up later when the adrenaline has stopped pumping, and you realize that you’re not “fine” like you thought you were. It’s tempting to wait until you’re home and you can see your regular doctor, but don’t wait!
See a local doctor, and get checked out. If follow-up is needed, get the doctor’s contact information and your regular doctor can retrieve medical records from where you were treated.
Call Your Attorney
Hopefully it won’t come to an attorney, but if it does, there are a few extra steps to take. You will need an attorney from the state where the accident occurred. Your attorney back home may have partnerships with other offices, so you can always start there.
Remember, if an attorney will be involved, the only official statement that you want to give is to the police. Don’t even give one to an insurance adjuster; let the legal professional handle that.
Big Sky Collision Center Fixes Cars
If you’re travelling from out-of-state to Billings, and you’re involved in an accident, bring your vehicle to Big Sky Collision Center. We have more certifications than any other shop in a 5 state area. If you need your car fixed, get it fixed by the best auto body shop in the area! Give us a call at 406-259-6325 to learn how to get the process started.