Protecting your identity in an accident
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A recent survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) suggests that, after an accident, many Americans do not really know what information they should share with the other driver.
State laws vary, but in most cases your name and vehicle insurance information is all that is required, which should include the name and phone number of your insurance provider. Sharing personal information such as your address and phone number may put your privacy and identity at risk. However, if another driver is unable to provide vehicle ownership and/or insurance information it is appropriate to ask for their phone number, address and driver’s license number.
According to the NAIC survey:
- 35 percent of consumers believed they should share their driver’s license number with the other driver.
- 17 percent would allow the other driver to photograph the license as a convenient way to exchange information.
- 25 percent would share their home address.
- 25 percent believe they are required to share personal phone numbers.
- 20 percent of respondents believe that the only reason to call the police after an accident is if someone is injured.
Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission estimates nearly nine million consumers have their identities stolen each year, disrupting finances and damaging credit histories and reputation. Knowing what to share helps keep property and identities safe.
The survey also found that consumers were unsure about other auto accident best practices. For example, nearly 20 percent of respondents believe the only reason to call police after an accident is if someone is injured. However, filing a police report can help facilitate the insurance claims process.
The WreckCheck App for Smartphones developed by the NAIC outlines what to do immediately following an accident and walks users through a step-by-step process to create their own accident report. The app directs them to capture photos and helps document and share only what is necessary to file an insurance claim. Users can even email their completed reports to themselves and their insurance agents.
The NAIC also offers a downloadable accident checklist and tips for staying calm, safe and smart on the road. (http://www.insureuonline.org/auto_accident_checklist.pdf)
For more tips and tools to make sure you are protected in case of an auto accident, visit www.insureuonline.org.
(Photo credited to: www.phahealth.us)
DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, and based on particular situations, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice, financial advice and/or the advice of a licensed insurance or certified human resource professional.
© Connelly, Carlisle, Fields & Nichols 2012