Whether it’s a fender-bender or a serious collision, being involved in a car crash is always a terrible experience. This is especially true if it’s a classic car instead of your daily driver. A classic car accident involves a host of other responsibilities that you must be prepared for before you file a collector car insurance claim.
At American Collectors Insurance, we know the pain and stress you’ll likely feel after a classic car accident as we’ve helped countless other collectors through this process. To help you, we’ve put together 10 basic steps to take if your collector car is involved in an accident.
10 Steps to Follow Immediately After an Accident
- Remain calm. Call emergency services right away if there are any injuries.
- If you smell gas or see fire around the vehicle, clear everyone away from the area.
- Never move an injured person unless leaving them in their position poses a greater threat to life.
- If the accident is minor (no injuries), move vehicles to a safer location, such as the side of the road. Turn on hazard lights and place reflective triangles or flares around the vehicle.
- Do NOT admit responsibility for the accident. After an accident, you may be in shock and/or may not have a thorough understanding of how fault is assigned for traffic accidents. Your insurance policy is a contract, and your insurance policy states that you must not assume responsibility or liability under these circumstances.
- Contact the local police, who will record important accident details: the date, time, and location/intersection of the accident, direction the vehicles were traveling, and the various points of contact. These details will generally be needed in your insurance claim file.
- Swap insurance information from the other driver. Take pictures of the damage done to your vehicle. If possible, you should also get a photo of their insurance card.
- Give the police officer your account of the accident, with as many details as you can remember. Share this information with the officer only, not with the other driver(s). Request the officer’s business card or the officer’s name, badge number, so you can contact him/her for the police report.
- As soon as you are able, contact your auto insurance company to begin the claims process.
Why a Classic Car Crash is Different Than One Involving Your Daily Driver
Vintage car wrecks will generally cost a lot more than one involving your daily driver, and they’re always more painful. After all, we know how passionate you are about your collector car. These vehicles are constructed with parts that are often difficult to find and, in some circumstances, impossible to replace from the original equipment manufacturer. Contacting your auto insurance company is only the beginning of the recovery process. There’s much more that you must do after you put down the phone. At American Collectors, we’ve been through this process many times, and know how difficult it can be. That’s why we’re here to help.
For starters, you should document repair discussions/details thoroughly. Any restoration work or repairs must be documented , and the receipts should be presentable to your insurance company upon request.
It’s also important that you don’t hesitate or wait around to start the repair process. If restoring a daily driver can be a headache, you can imagine how painstaking of a process it can be to repair a rare collectible car. Since it might take weeks or months to complete all repairs, it’s better to get started sooner than later. Plus, taking care of repairs early on reduces the chance of rust developing, which would only make the repairs more complicated and expensive.
However, you must never start any repairs on your classic car until a damage appraiser has physically inspected the damage. It’s crucial that you contact a damage appraiser as soon as possible to get a start on the process early.
Let Cooler Heads Prevail
We know that emotions run high following a car accident, especially those involving a classic car. Although you’re bound to be upset, try your best to keep calm and not lose your cool. We’ve seen collectors of virtually every make and model with minor to significant damage get successfully repaired or replaced. If everyone is okay, we can handle the rest.
Even if your classic car has been totaled, don’t let tensions flare. If the accident claim goes into litigation, remember anything you do or say may be used against you. Instead, let the police and your insurance agent do the talking.
Seek Repairs from a Qualified Expert
You may want to find a classic car specialty mechanic following a classic car accident.
Unfortunately, you can never be certain whether there’s more damage inflicted on your classic car unless you have a qualified expert to look at it. Vintage car technicians from reputable garages know what to look for after a classic car accident and can spot the signs of hidden structural damage. Seeking out the assistance of a specialized classic car repair shop, therefore, can be far more cost-effective in the long-run despite often carrying a higher repair quote upfront.
Start Your Classic Car Insurance Claim
The best protection against a classic car accident is to invest in the right auto insurance. Agreed Value classic car insurance policies will cover the full Agreed Value if a total loss. Although no collectible car owner wants to think about the prospect of losing their beloved classic, selecting an Agreed Value classic car insurance policy from American Collectors Insurance is the best step you can take to protect your passion and make the entire claim process as easy as possible.
American Collectors was founded in 1976 to help protect the passions of fellow collectors. We understand the true value of Collector cars and collectibles, including their important sentimental value, and are committed to preserving it. American Collectors Insurance offers comprehensive coverage for rare, antique, and classic cars. At American Collectors, you can get a free quote in seconds. Browse our collector car insurance policies today to see how American Collectors can offer you peace of mind at an affordable rate.