According to Facebook memories, today is the one-year anniversary of my very first car accident in Israel.
I started writing this post in the almost-immediate aftermath of the accident, and now seems like a good time to continue where I left off. So without further ado….
On my way to play practice* a few nights ago, the driver two cars in front of me decided that right now would be an excellent opportunity for me to check my reflexes.
The good news is, I’m alive! But the car needed some emergency reconstructive surgery.
To be fair, I didn’t escape unscathed…I had a greenish seat belt-shaped bruise on my upper chest, and some minor whiplash. I stayed home the day after and took it easy that weekend; by Sunday all was back to normal.
But as with any new experience, this one taught me that there is a right way and a wrong way to crash your car. I feel like it is now my
responsibility moral imperative to educate you all in the proper way to get into a car accident, and that I should do it without any delay one year later.
Crash During Daylight Hours
Did you know that before telling your spouse/parent/ambulance/the general Facebook public, you have to inform the insurance company? This is to make sure you are actually allowed to get into an accident in the first place. Once they have confirmed that your type of accident fits the bill, you can then proceed to panic.
Not only should you have your insurance company on speed dial, you should also make note of their regular operating hours. This is because none of the insurance companies have emergency hotlines during the night.
I guess they just assume nobody drives anywhere after 5pm. Either that or Israelis miraculously become exquisite drivers, obey every law imaginable (and some that don’t exist yet), and it’s all rainbows and butterflies and sunshine until it all goes back to
I crack myself up sometimes.
In any case, nothing will happen until the following morning. Which is when they can begin processing the paperwork for your accident and tow your car. Which brings me to my next point:
If you insist on crashing your car at night, make sure it is either so minor that everyone can continue driving afterwards, or so severe that the cops/an ambulance/some dude named Yosi gets involved. None of this in-between crap where one person can safely drive away while the other is stuck on a freeway during post-rush hour.
Not that I would know anything about that.
Take Lots of Pictures
In addition to exchanging details, there is no such thing as not enough photographic evidence of a fender bender. Let your inner Annie Leibovitz shine!
Also, did you know that there’s much better lighting for pictures during the day? This just reiterates my previous point.
Oh, and that reminds me:
Don’t Do Anything
Don’t call the cops. Don’t call a tow truck. Don’t move.
Until you’ve cleared it with the insurance company. See above point.
This is because the insurance company has “arrangements” with certain “reputable” towing companies, and garages, and miscellaneous other bits and pieces of the process. If you decide on your own to send your car to your garage, well – be prepared to lose out on many of your benefits.
Also, you’ll probably have to pay more money.
How do you know which ones are acceptable? You don’t, and the insurance company won’t tell you. Actually, even if they do tell you, I bet if you called that same towing company yourself you would probably end up paying more, simply because you aren’t from the insurance company.
Oh, here’s another don’t:
Don’t Be A New Driver
While this might seem like a no-brainer, your status as a new driver is different based on age, and well – just that, apparently. I still have no idea what else it’s based on, because many of my friends had different time frames. I guess the whim and fancy of the DMV.
If you are a new driver, it means you aren’t eligible for a temporary car while your baby is
in the corner at the shop.
And this means you now have to rely on public transportation. Or you have to walk.
I guess this means it’s also a good idea to crash your car when the weather is really nice.
Although, with the amount of people and places you now need to be in touch with, riding the bus is actually perfect. Who do you need to call, you ask?
(Yes, this is the third time I’m mentioning this. Take the hint.)
But not just your car insurance people; also your personal insurance people. You may be injured, and you may need a new phone, but you still have to be the point of contact for everyone, because there’s no way to guarantee that anyone other than you is informing people that you semi-totaled your only means of getting to wherever you need to go.
Good thing you’re holed up at home nursing a bruised chest, right?
With your car firmly strapped to the back of a licensed tow truck, you will need to figure out where they are taking it. That’s something only the insurance company will know, but it isn’t information they will provide to you unasked for.
Once you know which garage is temporarily playing host for your car, that place will be your second home (and will probably also end up on speed dial). The length of time your car will stay there will largely depend on the type of surgery your car will require.
Which, funnily enough, also dictates the next place you will be calling:
Ah, yes. These guys. You may as well move in because there will be so much paperwork coming and going for the next couple of months (yes, months) regarding payments and such.
Remember to save every scrap of paper the bank sends you, because there is a good chance you will have to hand-deliver it to someone, even though the bank insists they faxed it themselves.
Yes. Faxed it.
It’s always a good idea to get them involved, just because you can never have enough paperwork. This is also the only way you can properly recover, because you will need to provide this to your employer or teachers (not that they will care too much) when and if you need some time off.
So, now that you’ve confirmed that you can get into an accident, that it’s broad daylight, that you are well without the new-driver period, and that your car will either be classified as a fender-bender or a total loss, and you haven’t suffered any lasting physical damage – go ahead, call your mom.
As always, thanks for the memories Facebook!
*oh yeah, I totally forgot about that. I guess I’ll have to write another update post.