Though your commercial trucking company is always concerned with safety, the truth is that at some time an accident will happen. The key to a smooth commercial insurance claims process is to follow a few simple steps. These steps should begin immediately following any accident. When these steps are followed methodically they can dramatically reduce any claim delays and denials. The result for your commercial trucking company is less down time and more profitability.
When an accident happens:
- Immediately Assess The Area For Safety. Is there injury or damage to your truck or other vehicles? It is always wise for the driver to carry paper and pen in the truck to immediately take notes. Also, in these technologically advanced times, a camera phone can be one of the most vital assessment tools. In the event of injuries, you may need to perform first aid. However, be aware that you should be trained and certified to perform first aid before you administer services to any injured persons.
- Call For Emergency Assistance. A call to 911 will dispatch police and fire & rescue units. In the event that you are carrying hazardous materials, you may also need to contact the Department of Transportation.
- Collect Information. You should gather as much detail as you can regarding the damaged vehicles, persons involved in the accident, and any witnesses. This step is vital since most truck insurance claims are delayed when commercial trucking companies don’t have this information and the driver did not write it down.
- a. Details of Vehicles Involved. Gather information on the make, model, license plate, and registration numbers of all vehicles. Note if any vehicles involved left the scene of the accident
- b. Persons Involved. Write down the names, phone numbers, and insurance information of those directly involved with the accident. You will also want to get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. Having witness information is important in the event that the witnesses cannot remain at the scene until the police arrive. If at all possible, take down a statement from the witnesses about the accident.
- c. Document Damage. Photograph or detail on paper all damage to the commercial truck; also document damage to other vehicles involved in the accident. The documentation of other vehicles’ actual damage will reduce the likelihood that unscrupulous victims will intentionally increase the damage to the vehicle to increase the insurance payout.
- Contact the Commercial Insurance Provider. The insurance provider can only deal with a claim with the proper information. The more detail that you can provide during that first phone call, the smoother the claims process will be. Some commercial insurance providers will handle your claim by phone at the time of the accident. Other insurers may want to send a claims representative to the scene. In either case, the sooner the commercial insurance company can assess the information, the faster the claim can be processed.
- Meet with the Commercial Insurance Claims Adjuster. Within a few days after the accident, you or your commercial trucking representative may meet with the claims adjuster to review the details and assess the damage to the commercial truck. It is the claims adjuster who will determine the amount you can claim from the commercial insurance company.
A good commercial trucking insurance provider will want to provide you with swift, hassle-free claims processing. With documentation of the information described above any time you have an accident, you can help your insurance provider get you quickly back to business as usual.