Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

What info should you exchange after a car accident?


Insurance experts say victims of auto accidents commonly make two mistakes - gathering too little information or sharing too much information. Many people simply don't know what steps to take, especially if it is their first accident.

Consider downloading an accident app for your smartphone. These apps can simplify things and protect your interests in the event of a crash, which can be disorienting and chaotic.


Car accident advice from state insurance officials

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers a free app (Apple or Android) called Wreck Check. It provides general advice for the aftermath of a collision and checklists for recording important information and details.

Immediately after a crash
(1) Stay calm. Call an ambulance if someone is hurt. Never assume that someone else has called 911
(2) Stay safe. Stay out of traffic. Move your vehicle if you are creating a traffic hazard or endangering yourself.
(3) Stay courteous. Avoid verbal or physical confrontations.

Information to record

  • The other vehicle's make, model, year and color
  • The driver's license number
  • Their license plate number and VIN (vehicle identification number)
  • Their insurance company, agent name and policy number
  • Date, time and location of the accident
  • Details of what happened

Sharing your information

  • Do NOT exchange your actual driver's licenses
  • Do NOT let them photograph your license
  • Do NOT admit fault

What you don't know can hurt you

The NAIC realized that many drivers do not understand the rights and risks of exchanging information. Their research showed that 40 percent of respondents would share their driver's license or allow a photo of it, and 25 percent would share their home address. Identity thieves could use this info for nefarious purposes, including targeting your mailbox or residence.

Many people think that police should be called only if there are serious injuries. Filing a police report is important for your insurance claim or lawsuit. Always call police when a car accident occurs. 

Wreck Check is not the only car accident app, and not necessarily the best one. But it is free and easy to use, with helpful tips and reminders.

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