Consumer tips
Auto insurance
Use your phone to capture details at an accident scene

How’s this for a digital-age twist? The very device often blamed for distracted-driving accidents also can be your best friend at an accident scene. Beyond summoning emergency aid, your cellphone – unfazed by a racing heart and jangled nerves – can accurately capture critical details easily overlooked in the adrenaline-fueled moments following a crash.

Your phone vs. pen and paper

Pew Research notes that in 2015, more than 90% of American adults used cellphones, with more than two-thirds carrying smartphones. Not only have the devices changed the way we communicate, they’ve changed the way we share information. What would take us 30 minutes to jot down by hand can be captured completely and accurately in a few camera clicks.

Our claims adjusters put together their top-five reasons why text- and email-enabled phones trump the backs of envelopes and food wrappers when it comes to recording accident data:

  1. Easy and accurate

    Tap, snap, send. The resolution on most cellphone cameras is good enough to capture close-up detail on documents, including:
    • Driver’s licenses
    • Vehicle registrations
    • Proofs of insurance
    • License plates
    • Witnesses’ business cards
    • Accident scene photos, showing damage, vehicle position, weather conditions, skid marks, and unusual circumstances like construction detours or road hazards.
  2. Timely

    Text and email information will reach PEMCO’s Claims Department nearly instantaneously, giving us a head start on settling your claim. Fewer phone calls mean faster processing and faster repairs. Your life gets back to normal sooner!
  3. Safe

    The side of the road is no safe haven for note-taking. The sooner you exchange information, the sooner you can leave the scene, minimizing the chance you’ll get hit again by a passing vehicle.
  4. Permanent

    Unlike easily misplaced scraps of paper, digital records are hard to lose. You automatically have a copy of your “originals,” and photos are easily incorporated into our claims files for long-term reference.
  5. Protective

    That other driver – who seemed so cooperative – might have a change of heart. By fully capturing identifying information at the scene, you enable us to more effectively enlist the help of authorities, the other driver’s insurance company, and the Department of Licensing on your behalf.

So, the next time someone tells you cars and cellphones don’t mix, tell them they’re right when it comes to talking and texting while driving. But on the chance you’ll ever need to record details from an accident, you may want to make sure you have your cellphone with you whenever you get behind the wheel.

In case of an accident:

Safety first ● People before property

  • Get everyone to a safe place

    ...away from fast-moving traffic.
  • Determine if there are any injuries

  • Call 9-1-1

    ...for help, if needed.
  • Move your car

    ...to the side of the road if it's safe to do so.
  • Limit your statements

    Don't discuss responsibility for the accident with anyone except the police. Don't mention your insurance policy limits.
  • Record pertinent facts

  • Report the accident

    ...to the police from a safe location.
  • Call PEMCO:

    1‑800‑GO‑PEMCO (1‑800‑467‑3626).

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