Being in a car accident is pretty stressful. Not only can it take an emotional and sometimes physical toll, but you also need to take the time to think about legal and financial things too when you’re at the scene of an accident.
One thing that you may need to do when you are caught in an accident is to find out whether the other person involved in the accident has auto insurance coverage.
But how exactly do you find out if someone has auto insurance coverage? Here’s everything that you need to know.
What To Do When In An Accident
Before we start, it’s first important to know what to do when you find yourself in an accident. Don’t leave the scene of the accident right away - it’s advisable to call the police first.
You will likely need to file an accident report. You should also take photos of any of the damage and try to be as descriptive as possible when explaining the accident. This is very important in the event that you need to go to court.
You should also try to get the license plate number, though this may be difficult in the event of a hit and run. This will allow you to find the car that you have been hit by, so you can then find their insurance information from there.
It’s required by law that any damage to your property is covered by the person liable for the accident.
How To Find Out If Someone Has Auto Insurance
Ask The Vehicle Owner
The best way to check whether someone has auto insurance is to actually check with them directly at the scene. In fact, this is standard practice, so it shouldn’t be something that the vehicle owner will have an issue with. All drivers that were present in the accident will usually ask for the other driver’s insurance details.
Naturally, all drivers should have these details on hand anyway. Many states such as California actually make it a legal requirement to carry proof that they are insured inside of the vehicle.
When asking for someone’s insurance information, try to remain calm and don’t be rude - people are less likely to cooperate.
When the other driver gives you their insurance card, you should then take photos of it - both the back and the front. Some drivers may have electronic insurance cards, in which case you should ask the driver in question to send it to you.
You should also clarify the insurance provider’s name and the policy number. Take down other details too such as the name of the driver, the plate number and any other information such as phone numbers and email addresses that you can use to contact them with. You should also notify the driver that you intend to report the accident.
In a perfect world, every single person would be happy to comply with these requests. Of course, the world is not perfect, so it’s important to remember that there will sometimes be drivers that don’t comply with your requests, and some people may even get aggressive or defensive. You may even encounter a hit and run. In this case, you will need to find another way to find their insurance information.
Reporting the Incident
In the event that someone does not comply with showing you their insurance information, you will need to take it a step further and speak to the police. Once you have called 911 and reported the crash, the police will arrive and then deal with the investigation of the accident.
They may take statements from people who are present that were involved in the crash, and then the police will ask the people involved for evidence of their insurance. Drivers who were at fault that don’t have insurance can sometimes get fines, and may even be taken off the road entirely.
It’s even more important to contact the police if you are in a hit and run, especially if you were injured or your property was severely damaged. If you have managed to note down the license plate of the offending vehicle the police may actually be able to look into the incident further, finding the owners insurance information on your behalf. The offending driver may face criminal penalties for the hit and run, no matter what state you are in.
You should also file a report with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), though if you have already spoken to police then it is likely that the police would have contacted the DMV already.
What If The Other Driver Has No Insurance?
In some cases the other driver may not have any insurance at all. What do you do in this situation?
In this situation, you may need to claim on your own insurance policy. Some insurance policies may have an uninsured motorist coverage policy, which will help in the event that the at fault driver does not have insurance. You should call your insurance company to clarify whether this is a feature on your insurance.
In theory, finding out whether someone has auto insurance should be fairly simple, so long as the other party is willing to comply. It should merely be a case of asking the other driver a few key questions and then getting in contact with their insurance. Of course, things aren’t always this simple, in which case you may need to take additional steps.
In some circumstances it may be necessary to speak with the police or the DMV to find out the insurance information of the offending driver, especially in the event of a hit and run. In other situations, the driver may not possess any motor insurance, in which case you may need to claim on your own policy.
Whatever the case, there are always ways to find out if someone has auto insurance, whether the offending party is compliant or not. If you have any other concerns, it’s worth speaking to law enforcement.