Insurance and Parking Lot Fender Benders in Oklahoma
Most of us don’t spend much time worrying about car accidents in Oklahoma parking lots — but maybe we should. The insurance company Nationwide says that 13% of its car crash claims in 2012 involved collisions in parking lots.
Drivers should treat Oklahoma parking lots like intersections, and use defensive driving tactics to avoid rear-end wrecks, back over injuries, and even fatalities.
More often than not, accidents in Oklahoma parking lots are fender benders, in which no one is injured. Vehicle damage may range from scratched paint to significant mechanical or body problems.
Human error is a factor in more than 90% of all traffic collisions. A report by Yahoo Finance offers these tips from insurance experts for dealing with accidents in parking lots:
- Carry a checklist of things to do if you get into a car crash and need to file an insurance claim. Some insurance companies include a card with a list of the information you need in the aftermath of a collision. Do not rely on your memory when you’re rattled after a wreck, and keep good notes when you assess the crash.
- Do not move the vehicles unless it is necessary for safety. This is one small advantage to parking lots; unlike major roads and arteries, it is often quite easy to follow this recommendation if the fender bender happened in a parking lot. Driving away from the accident can cause additional vehicle damage — it is better to request a tow truck, call the police, or at least fully assess the damage before trying to move away from the site of a fender bender. Although some crashes do not require police intervention, it is usually best to contact them in the event of even minor car collisions.
- Take photos. Creating a record of vehicle damage right after a fender bender can help your insurance company assess the claim. It is also helpful to draw a diagram that shows how the fender took place.
- Collect the other driver’s information, including name, driver license number, insurance policy number, contact information, and license plate number.
- Contact your insurance company and report the crash, even in the case of minor fender benders. It is important to report any traffic accident that results in loss or damage to property or personal injury. Even if damage is minimal, failure to report an accident to your insurance company has consequences. For instance, if the other driver files a claim with their insurance company and you have not reported the wreck to your provider, the company may cancel or refuse to renew your car insurance policy.
- Do not accept blame or agree to settle on the spot. Although it may seem easy to work with the other driver to cover the cost of damage, this is not a good idea. Too many intricacies can come up and verbal agreements between drivers are not binding. It is better to go through both drivers’ insurance companies so that repairs are made and third parties determine responsibility for the auto accident. Let your insurance provider handle the details.
Busy holiday shoppers need to be especially careful to avoid parking lot traffic accidents in Oklahoma. On top of the crowds at malls and shopping centers, inclement winter weather makes minor crashes more likely. Heavy rain, ice, snow, and high winds are all factors that increase car crash risk, and the short winter days mean that nighttime accidents are also more likely.
Oklahoma drivers are encouraged to look out, drive calmly, and stay safe during the 2013 holiday season. Good driving habits can keep you safe in crowded parking lots and protect your vehicle from damage. If by chance you get into a fender bender, be vigilant and collect all the information you need to maximize the coverage provided by your car insurance policy.
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