Business vehicle accidents that are reported properly are settled faster and have less impact on future insurance pricing. Improper reporting delays payments and increases claim costs, thereby increasing future cost of insurance. Businesses should take ownership of business auto claims and manage them like other business processes, ensuring their interests are protected. Follow along to learn how.
Reporting Business Vehicle Accidents
How quickly an accident is reported impacts the investigation of a claim. Delays in gathering information are detrimental. As time passes, other parties’ remembrance of events change, witnesses forget details, and costs increase due to attorney involvement. Below are common reasons for delayed claim reporting.
- “Our driver didn’t tell us.”
- “We wanted to wait until the police report was ready.”
- “We wanted to conduct our own review first.”
- “The accident wasn’t our fault.”
While these reasons provide some validity, the result is the same: a delay in the insurance carrier’s investigation. All accidents should be reported as quickly as reasonably possible. Timely reporting protects your business interests.
After police arrive, injuries are addressed, and all parties are in a safe location, the driver should begin gathering information to file a claim. They should record:
- Other driver’s name and phone number
- Insurance company name and policy number of the other vehicle(s)
- Name and phone number of responding police officers
- Witness statements, including name and phone number
- Photos of the scene
- Date, time, and specific location
- Any special conditions, such as rain or snow
Police reports are not available at the scene of the accident but responding police officers can advise how to obtain one.
Do not depend upon a police report to include all necessary details to protect your interests. The driver should photograph the scene, helping to ensure they are not inappropriately blamed for an accident and protecting their livelihood.
- Be safe.
- Take pictures from every angle, including close-ups and wide views.
- Include all vehicles involved.
- Include points of reference, such as street signs and buildings.
- Photograph skid marks and debris.
- Include pictures of license plates of all vehicles involved.
- Photograph the environment, such as traffic control signs, road width, and blind spots.
Submitting a Claim
It isn’t necessary to report a claim from the scene of the accident. If the driver has gathered all appropriate information, taken photos, and a police report is in progress, a claim can be started after the immediate excitement of the event has passed and the driver is in a safe location. Business vehicle accidents can be submitted directly to the insurance company or through your insurance agent.
To Your Insurance Company
If during non-business hours, we recommend reporting directly to your insurance company. Their claim contact information can be found in your insurance policy, your auto ID card, or reference our Claim Contact List.
To Bankers Insurance
A claim can be started either by calling your account manager or submitting a claim via website or mobile app.
No matter how your claim is submitted, a Bankers Insurance claims agent will be assigned to track your claim and ensure all is processed fairly and smoothly.
Even though a Bankers Insurance claims agent is assigned to your claim, businesses should still actively track claim progress. Manage claims like other business processes. Respond to questions from the insurance claims adjuster quickly and request follow up during gaps in communication. Claims greatly affect future insurance rates and business involvement in the claim resolution process is critical.
The best way to ensure a business vehicle claim is handled smoothly is preparation. Maintain accident reporting kits in each business vehicle and train drivers on how to use them. Kits should include clear instructions that are easy to follow even in the anxious state after a vehicle accident. They should provide specific instructions to follow at the scene as well as witness information cards. See below.
Consider installing dashcams in each business vehicle. Dashcams, properly maintained, protect your business, your driver, and provide objective evidence that can make a difference in the outcome of a claim settlement. Consider a telematics provider which couples a dashcam with regular reporting functions to encourage safe driving habits and reduce the likelihood of an accident in the first place. Nauto and Azuga are two dashcam/telematics providers we work with that provide discounts to clients of Bankers Insurance. Many insurance companies provide insurance discounts for businesses using telematics which can pay for the cost of the service. Contact your insurance sales executive for details.
Further Business Vehicle Accident Links
- Auto Accident Claim Instructions
- Auto Accident Reporting Form
- Auto Accident Witness Card
- Minimizing Risk of Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Driver Qualification File Checklist
Business Clients: Many other driver safety and training resources are available to you via your MyWave subscription.
Questions regarding commercial auto insurance? Contact your Bankers Insurance agent. Not a client of ours? Let us earn your business! Each client is assigned a personal agent in our office, given their email address, and provided a phone number that rings right on their desk.