Do you know what to do in the event of a Jeep accident? (I thought I did. But I was wrong.)
Car accidents suck — especially if you’re just minding your own business and someone on their cell phone plows into your back bumper.
Your Jeep might be able to take a hit with no problems, but that doesn’t mean you should just let the person off the hook and drive off.
You can learn from my mistakes. Here’s what you should do if your Jeep gets rear-ended…
Know When To Call The Police
Chances are (if your driver’s education class was anything like mine), you were told to call the police anytime you get into an accident — even if it’s a low-speed fender-bender that doesn’t leave any damage on either vehicle.
About 20 years ago that may have been true.
Nowadays, depending on where you live, you may call the police to report a fender-bender only to be told by the dispatcher that they won’t send an officer unless there’s an injury or more than $1,000 in apparent damage.
This is fine — don’t freak out. If you’re rattled or worried about what your insurance company is going to do, call the police dispatcher for advice.
Even if a police officer doesn’t come to the scene of the accident to file a report, they may suggest that you head to the nearest police station and file an accident report yourself. Having the Jeep accident report on file can help your case if the insurance company decides to be difficult.
Take Lots Of Pictures
This becomes especially important if you don’t call the police or they decline to come to the scene of your Jeep accident.
About 10 years ago, insurance companies would tell you to keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment to take pictures of an accident. Today, almost everyone has a smartphone with a camera — so it’s easy to snap a bunch of pictures after a fender-bender.
Take pictures of all of the cars involved, the scene, and the other driver’s insurance information. (That last one is important if you’ve got terrible handwriting like me!)
Your insurance company might request the photos you’ve taken. But if not, it’s still important to have them for your own records.
Call Your Insurance Company — No Matter What
Don’t do what I did when my Jeep got rear-ended.
I didn’t think there was any damage, so I shrugged it off. Me and the other guy exchanged insurance information, but I never called to report it to my insurance company.
Instead of it being a live-and-let-live situation, the other driver reported the accident to his insurance company and accused me of hitting him — even though all of the evidence I had collected clearly showed that I was rear-ended!
It took me 6 months of fighting with both his insurance company and mine to get everything taken care of. And in the meantime, my car insurance nearly doubled in cost!
Even if all you’re doing is giving them a heads-up that you were in an accident, call your insurance company and report it. If you have a police report, give them that information as well.
Go To The Doctor Right Away
Low-speed fender-benders don’t normally result in injuries — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to the doctor anyway.
Accident-related injuries (like whiplash) can take days or weeks to start showing symptoms, and by then you may have already run out of time to file an injury report.
Plus, if you wait weeks after your Jeep accident to report the injury, it gets harder to prove your symptoms were caused by the crash.
Take care of yourself before you take care of your car. Dinged fenders will keep — dinged muscles will not.
Look Into Inspections And Repairs
Finally, you’ll need to look into repairs for the rear end of your Jeep.
You’ve got 2 options here, depending on your handiness and how your insurance company works:
- For minor damage, you can often do the repair work yourself — if your insurance company will cut you a check for the costs.
- Otherwise, you will need to take your Jeep to a repair shop — to have it assessed and repaired by a professional.
If you’re familiar with Jeeps at all, then you know they can take a beating. After all, they were designed to be military troop transports — long before they became popular with the civilian population.
That said, your Jeep will still need to be inspected after an accident.
Even a low-speed fender-bender can bend the frame and throw off the Jeep’s alignment. So take your Jeep to the shop and get the frame and alignment checked before you start buying aftermarket parts with your insurance payout.
Getting into a Jeep accident sucks — there’s no other way to put it. If you take a few steps to protect yourself, you can make the situation suck a little bit less.
Don’t make the same mistakes I did. It’s up to you to protect yourself after a fender-bender in your Jeep.