Exchanging Information after a Car Accident
Most people know the first thing you should do after a car accident, after assessing personal injury, is exchange information with the other person or people involved. Of course you do, that’s what you’ve been told since you first started driving. However, do you know which information to share? Recent studies show that over half of people involved in car accidents give out the wrong information, or rather too much information, which could actually lead to identity theft and fraud. Make sure that you are giving out the right amount of information.
What to Give
After a car accident, it is important to give the other drivers involved your name and insurance information. Insurance information includes the name and phone number of your insurance provider. Of course it is also imperative that you get this information from the other people involved as well. For most accidents, those three things: name, insurance provider name, and insurance provider phone number, are all you need to give. That is enough information for your car insurance company to contact theirs, or vice versa, and anything more than that should be handled by a car accident lawyer or the police.
What Not to Give
After a traumatic car accident, the instinct is to give any information the other drivers want because willingness to share communicates innocence. However, in the age of identity theft, you need to turn that instinct off. Although you may be asked by the police officers handling the accident for your phone number, home address, and license number, there is no reason to give any of that information to the other drivers involved. After your social security number, your license number is one of your most important identifiers. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners or NAIC say that giving more than insurance information and name puts you directly in jeopardy of identity theft.
A surprising amount of people and car safety companies still encourage drivers to exchange license number and insurance policy number with each person involved. However, this is simply not safe with the amount of insurance fraud today. If you are involved in a car accident, do not let the other people involved coerce you into making what you know to be a bad decision. You can assure them that the police involved will have all of that information and will be able to find you if for some reason your name and insurance information is not enough.
In car accidents involving extreme property damage or personal injury, a car accident lawyer might eventually be needed. This being said, it is extremely important that you keep the information you collect from the people involved in your car accident in a safe place. If there is a personal injury, make sure it is attended to even before you exchange information. Anyone, including a police officer or a car accident lawyer will tell you that exchanging information is mandatory, however over sharing is not. Don’t make the mistake that so many others have.