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Car Accidents & Vehicle-Related Incidents

Car Accidents & Vehicle-Related Incidents

It happens to all of us - the odd accident or traffic incident, that is - but what should we expect after we experience the unexpected? This section lists the different sorts of incidents that a person may encounter while owning and operating a vehicle, what these incidents generally entail, and what can be expected to result from the incident with respect to a person's driving record and future car insurance prices.

This section will not address how to interact with your insurance provider about the incident. That process, which is known as the claims process, is covered in the claims section.

Before we begin, let's first discuss the difference between an accident and an incident. It may sound like we're splitting hairs here, but all accidents are incidents whereas not all incidents are accidents. No, this isn't a setup for a question on the SATs - there is simply a major difference between the two.

  • Traffic accidents generally result in vehicular damage, property damage or, heaven forbid, a casualty. This usually means someone's insurance prices are going up (the at-fault party, the affected party, or sometimes both.)
  • Traffic incidents might result in damage, but they may also be minor citations for incidents that do not result in damages. These may result in increased insurance prices, but will generally be to a lesser-degree.

For our purposes, we will call all events which result in vehicle damage, tickets, citations, or in any way modify your insurance policy or driving record an "incident." With that in mind, we've prepared articles to help you prepare for or respond to incidents in which you are involved; describe the various sorts of incidents you could expect on the road; and explain what you can expect should one of these incidents happen to you. Select the article that best-describes the incident or information you're looking for from the list below.

Pre & Post Incident Guides

Most people tend to think "it could never happen to me," but the truth is a vehicle-related incident happens more frequently than once every three seconds in the United States. Not all of them are major, not all of them result in damages, and not everyone gets caught, but how can you prepare for each of these scenarios? What should you do if you weren't prepared at the time, but you want to make sure you're set up to make the most out of a bad situation now? How will your driving privileges be impacted? This section covers all of these topics in detail.

What to do During & Immediately Following an Incident

If you've been involved in an in incident, what should you do at the scene? Should you communicate with the involved party and, if so, what should / shouldn't be said? What about the responding officer? What are the most common mistakes, and what can you do to make sure any future monetary damages are minimized?

» Read the Incident Response Guide

Incidents & Your Driver's License

Once an incident occurs, your state's motor vehicle department may assess points, demerits, or credits against your license. What do these various indicators mean? How do these points affect your ability to renew your driver's license and driving privileges? What impact will they have on your insurance rates?

» Read more about Driver's Licenses & Points

Explaining Different Incidents in Detail

The number of violations a driver can get is more diverse than the number of cars on the road, but incidents generally fall into one of these categories. If you or someone you know has been involved in a traffic incident and you want to know what it usually involves, what can be expected legally, and how future insurance policies will be impacted, pick the type of incident from the list below.

The 7 Most Common Vehicle Incidents

This article describes in detail the 7 most common vehicle incidents: accidents (at-fault, no-fault, and the difference between the two), non-accident comprehensive claims, defective vehicle equipment, parking tickets / violations, failure to provide proof of insurance, speeding tickets, and failing to obey a traffic sign or device.

» Read about the 7 Most Common Vehicle Incidents

Other Moving Violations

They may not be the most frequent occurrences, but other moving violations still happen: failing to yield, following a vehicle too closely (tailgating), improper backing, improper lane changing or passing, improper turning, passing a school bus, going the wrong way on a one-way street, and other minor moving violations.

» Read more about Additional Types of Moving Violations

Dealing with Traffic Tickets

Most drivers will receive a traffic ticket at some point or another. It is beneficial to know the facts behind different citations and be able to dispel common traffic ticket myths. Doing so will save you time and money throughout the process.

» Read more about Dealing with Traffic Tickets

Incidents with Parked Cars

According to a recent study, the majority of hit and run incidents involve parked cars. If you find yourself involved in a situation where a parked vehicle is damaged, be sure you have a firm grasp on the necessary steps to resolve the incident..

» Read more about Incidents Involving Parked Vehicles

Alcohol & Substance-Related Incidents

Driving under the influence is a hot-button topic in many states no matter what time of year. What will result after being arrested for operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, prescription medication, illegal drugs or narcotics? How will this choice impact your driving privileges in the future?

» Read more about Operating a Vehicle while Under the Influence

Serious Vehicular Incidents

Serious incidents will have serious repercussions, whether you are the perpetrator of the act or you're unlucky enough to have been the victim. Incidents of this type include: driving on a suspended license, filing false accident reports, fleeing from the police, leaving the scene of an accident, hit and run accidents, using / selling / stealing identification documents, drag or street racing, reckless driving, vehicle theft, and vehicular homicide.

» Read more about Major Vehicular Incidents

Stolen Vehicles and Theft

Dealing with a stolen vehicle or property can be very stressful, especially if you lack insurance coverage. Learn about the most popular stolen vehicles, steps you can take to avoid being the victim of theft and what to do if your car or personal belongings are stolen.

»Read more about Vehicle Theft and Crime Statistics

Other Common Questions about Accidents & Incidents

Sometimes the event you're going through doesn't fit neatly into a box. We've prepared an entire knowledge base of articles for common vehicle incidents, accidents, and situations that many drivers see every day. If you don't see an answer to your situation on this list, please feel free to contact us so we can prepare a guide for drivers with the same question.

Lending / Borrowing a Vehicle

Most drivers lend or borrow vehicles without thinking about the consequences, but what happens when there is an accident or incident in a borrowed vehicle? Which driver's insurance will foot the bill? Is the vehicle itself insured or the driver? What happens if the borrowing driver doesn't have insurance?

» Read more about Borrowed Vehicles & Traffic Incidents

Risky Business: Driving without Car Insurance

Some drivers choose to roll the dice and drive without adequate (or any) insurance. Apart from the fact that this horrible idea places both the driver and their potential victim in signficant personal and financial risk, what fines, fees, or other penalties exist should a motorist opt to drive with insufficient / no coverage?

» What are the Penalties for Driving without Insurance?

Emergency Roadside Kits

What's the worst thing that could happen while you're driving? Your battery dies? A flat tire? Maybe you get stranded on some infrequently travelled side road with no supplies? Whether you're a 90% city travel / 10% rural travel (or the other way around) it will always pays to be prepared.

» Things to Keep Handy in Case of a Vehicular Emergency

When Accident Repairs Cost More than the Car is Worth

What happens when you're in a car accident that causes more damage to your vehicle than your vehicle is worth? Will your insurer fix your car up to a point and stick you with the rest of the bill? Will they declare your car a total loss and then leave you to your own devices? Read more about what comes next here.

» When the Cost of Fixing Your Car is Greater than its Value