Laura Berry is a former State Farm insurance producer and insurance expert.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products, including home, life, auto, and commercial, and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, mainly in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Oct 26, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • When you’re involved in an accident, it’s your responsibility to stay at the scene, administer aid to injured parties, and exchange information with all parties so that the incident can be thoroughly investigated
  • Insurance companies issue auto insurance ID cards to their policyholders so that they can easily provide their insurance information to other drivers when they are in an accident
  • Auto insurance ID cards include your policy number, your insurance company, the claims phone number, the policy term, vehicle make, the VIN of the covered auto, and drivers listed on the policy
  • After an accident, it’s important that you contact your insurer so that you can give a statement on what led to the accident
  • You need to collect insurance information. driver information, and contact information so that your claims adjuster can thoroughly investigate to allocate fault

If you’re in a multi-car accident, it’s your duty as a driver to collect as much information as possible while you’re still at the scene. Gathering the right information immediately after a crash ensures that you have everything that you need to file a claim with your insurance carrier.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget to ask for pertinent information when you’re coping with what just happened. There are plenty of checklists and resources that you can access online that tell you what you need to do right after an accident.

If you don’t want to spend your whole afternoon researching what you need to do after an accident, here’s all of the information that you need.

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It’s Illegal to Leave the Scene of an Accident

You learn a lot of information at once when you’re studying the driver’s handbook before you take your licensing test. It’s easy to forget some of the details that you learn after you become a veteran driver. You might not know the handbook word for word, but there’s still information that you need to remember.

It’s critical that you stop your vehicle if you’re in an accident that causes damage to property or injuries to anyone involved. Failing to stop at the scene is a crime that could result in a fine or jail time. The penalties for fleeing the scene of an accident are laid out in your state’s vehicle code.

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Why Carrying Your Insurance ID Cards is So Important

In each and every state, auto insurance carriers are required to issue auto insurance ID cards for every policy. Drivers must carry these ID cards in their vehicles at all times.

The purpose of the requirement is to ensure that you have proof of coverage and that you can provide your policy information to other drivers after a loss.

What is the difference between an ID card and a declarations page?

Your insurance ID card and your declarations page are two very different documents. A permanent ID card gives just enough information to other drivers and a declarations page will give too much.

The declarations page shows your rating information, all of your coverage information, and details on your driving history and driving habits.

What is listed on your auto insurance ID card?

Most of the information that you need to give concerning your insurance can be found on your ID cards. As long as you have a physical printout or access to an electronic ID card, you shouldn’t have any problems providing the other driver with the information that they need.

Here’s some of the information that you can find on your compact ID card:

  • Company name and NAIC license number
  • Company address and phone number
  • Insured’s name and address
  • The policy number
  • Effective date and expiration date
  • Vehicle information and description
  • Drivers listed on the policy

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Steps to Take Following an Accident

If you take the appropriate steps after an accident, it makes investigating a claim and determining fault all the easier. Right after an accident you should stop your vehicle, pull your car over (if possible), get to a safe place, and administer aid to injured parties.

  • Speak with the other party to exchange information but never admit fault
  • Contact the police to file a legal accident report (some states won’t send an officer if there’s only minimal damage)
  • Ask witnesses to give you their contact information (witnessed can’t be passengers of any of the vehicles involved)
  • Have your vehicle transported to a repair facility if it can’t be driven
  • Seek medical treatment if you’re injured
  • When you are safe and you have been seen by a doctor, contact your insurance company to file a claim

What information do you need to collect at the scene of the accident?

If you want to file a claim that’s easy to investigate, getting all of the information that the claims adjuster needs is crucial.

The most effective way to ensure that you get all of the information in the midst of all the chaos is to carry around an accident checklist.

If you want to construct a checklist of your own, here’s what you need to check off:

  • Names of all the drivers involved
  • Address of each driver or the registered owner of the car
  • Insurance information for each driver
  • The phone number and other contact information for each driver
  • Names of passengers
  • Vehicle description, make, model, VIN, and license plate number
  • Date and time of accident
  • Exact location of accident with a description of the scene
  • Direction you were traveling in and direction other car was going
  • Photos of crash scene from different angles
  • Photos of damage to each vehicle involved (note what side damage is on)
  • Weather conditions
  • Witness’s contact information
  • Police report number or officer’s badge number

You must be prepared to collect all of the information that you need after an accident before you ever have one. If you’re shopping for coverage, be sure to compare premiums before you buy anything. Use an online rate comparison tool and you can find the best rates in the market.

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