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Just over a week ago I ventured a few miles across town to visit my sister who was visiting from out of state. It was a Sunday afternoon and although it wasn’t snowing, the roads had lots of packed snow on top of them.

I had been stopped at a traffic light for about 15 seconds when suddenly we felt a jolt, heard a bang, and realized that our minivan had been rear-ended by a red Jeep. I opened my door to go talk to the other driver. He slowly pulled up next to my van and said that he hadn’t stopped soon enough and he was “sorry about that.”

I said, “let’s pull over here and exchange information.” He said that was okay and I slowly pulled around the corner of the street. He looked over at us and then drove straight through the intersection – fleeing the scene! We were amazed that he would so brazenly take off like that. We wondered if he felt like the Monster in this movie scene:

Thankfully, the snow slowed him down. Also, it was the middle of the afternoon so there was plenty of light to read and write down his license plate.

My wife and kids were particularly amazed that anyone would drive off like that. Unfortunately, I guess that’s the world we live in. But we had the plate number.

After I dropped off my family at our destination I took two of my kids with me and drove over to the police station to file an accident report. Thankfully, I had noted the make, model and color of the car, along with the time of the accident and a description of the driver. All of this information helped. The kids learned a lot, too.

The officer noted that we had damage to our bumper and to the lift-gate too. He also said that he ran the plate and it did pull up a Jeep in Lucas County. I will call him in a day or two to see what they found out. Obviously I want to file the claim under his insurance – if he has any.

What can you learn from our experience?

1)  If you are in an accident, make sure to get information from (or about) the other car. Don’t presume that they’ll do the right thing. Be ready to take down their license plate number. It might be all you have to go on.

2)  Make sure you file an accident report with the local police. If you don’t know where they are located, just call and they should send an officer to your location to take down the information. Or perhaps they’ll ask you to come in. It’s important to make an official record of what happened to document that you were not at fault in the accident.

3)  Make sure you talk with your teenage drivers so they will know what to do if they are in an accident. A little advice now can save them a lot of grief later.

What if the other person doesn’t have insurance? Well, in that case we’ll have to pay our collision deductible and our own company will pay for the repair.

If you’re driving a car that doesn’t have collision coverage, you will have to pay for the repairs yourself unless you carry “uninsured motorist property damage coverage.” If you have that endorsement you’ll still owe a deductible, but the remainder of the repair can be covered by your own policy.

 

Posted 2:58 PM  View Comments

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