NEWS Retired claims adjuster talks what to do if you have an accident

Retired claims adjuster talks what to do if you have an accident

A session on what to do in the event of an accident took place Wednesday during the Laredo Rotary Club’s regular meeting at the Embassy Suites.

Douglas M, Alford, Farmers Insurance Co. Veteran, Rotarian and retired general claims adjuster, is the guest speaker. He talks about the importance of buying insurance in the event of an accident and knowing your rights under the policy.

“This topic is important because everyone has insurance,” Alford said. “Insurance is a one-to-one situation, but a lot of times policyholders don’t know what their rights are and what should happen. Sometimes, when an accident happens, they accept someone off the street to replace the insurance adjuster. “

Adjusters examine property damage or personal injury claims to determine how much the insurance company should pay for the loss. They might inspect homes, businesses or cars. The mediator meets with claimants and witnesses, inspects property, and conducts additional research, such as reviewing police reports.

“Insurers and policyholders believe there is a contract that is binding on both parties, that the company has to listen to the policy, and they have their staff adjusters to guide the process and handle claims,” ​​he said.

Alford emphasized that those involved in an accident or any incident should always tell the truth.

“The truth is always binding. If you tell the truth, no one will question it,” Alford said. “When you talk to a police officer, he or she can read you like a book. If you lie to the police, he will know. He will press further, because it will be his sign to check you, With the digital systems that we have now, it only takes a few minutes to find out if what you say is true.”

By telling the truth, you won’t have to remember what you lied about, he added.

Alford offers some advice on what to do and what not to do in an injury or non-injury incident:

  • Instantly determine your condition and your passenger’s condition, check each other’s and passenger’s condition. If either vehicle is injured, note the extent of the injury.
  • Call 911 immediately, or have someone call 911, and get contact information for the caller.
  • If possible, move your vehicle to a safe location to avoid a secondary accident for which you may be responsible.
  • Take note of any witnesses, their names and addresses, and take note of the physical location of all fixtures and conditions at the accident scene, including weather. Take enough photos to document all vehicles, road conditions and markings at the scene and vehicle damage. If possible, identify each vehicle by its tag number and VIN.
  • Contact the other party and provide your name, address, phone number and insurance information in writing. Get the same information from the other side.
  • When investigators arrive, obtain the names, tag numbers of all persons present. Have your insurance documents, driver’s license and vehicle registration ready.
  • If you receive a citation, the accident scene is not the place for you to argue your case.
  • Tow the damaged vehicle (if undrivable) to the repair shop of your choice. Failure to do so will result in unnecessary additional towing charges.
  • Document all activities leading up to, during and after the incident.
  • Do not admit responsibility or blame the other party in any way.
  • Do not talk or discuss the accident with anyone other than the investigators.
  • If the accident was not investigated by the police, obtain all the above information and report it in person or via the Internet to the nearest police station within 10 days of the accident. Failure to do so could result in a summons for leaving the scene of the accident and an arrest warrant may be issued.

“Accidents are not crimes. Crimes are things that happen before, during or after an accident,” he said.

“I want to state that anytime you do an insurance claim directly with an insurance company. When you talk about insurance, understand who you’re dealing with. Texas has big companies, deals with big companies. There are other companies, kind of mutual , don’t operate on the surface. You’re going to have problems with them, but at the big insurers, they’re going to take care of you because with a satisfactory claims process, they’re going to attract other customers.”

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