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Auto Accident and Claims FAQs

When an accident happens, we’re here to help. ERIE’s expert claims and customer service team has the answers you are looking for after an auto accident and throughout the claims process. To help you through the experience, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions.

Need additional or immediate assistance? Visit the Contact ERIE page for ways to connect with our claims and customer service departments.

What should you do at the scene of an auto accident?

  1. Be safe. Protect passengers, yourself and your vehicle from further damage as best as you can. Move vehicles to a safe place as needed and turn on hazard lights.
  2. Call the police to report the accident. Call 911 if someone is injured, damage is extensive or you need other emergency assistance.
  3. Stay calm. Take a deep breath and know that ERIE and your agent will help you through the rest. Only discuss accident details with the police or an ERIE representative.
  4. Take notes, photos and videos. Take photos of the scene if you can do so safely. Then, document the accident, making sure to include:
    • Date, time and location of accident.
    • Contact information for other drivers, passengers and witnesses, including full names.
    • Insurance company and policy number for drivers involved.
    • Type, color, model and license plate numbers of other vehicles involved.
    • Name and badge number of all responding officers and copy of the accident report.
    • A description of what happened, while it is still fresh in your mind.
    • Photos of the involved vehicle from different angles, showing the damage done to both cars. If you use ERIE’s photo appraisal option, you will need to take additional photos of your vehicle during the photo appraisal process.
  5. Start the claims process. Contact your local ERIE agent or call ERIE’S 24/7 claims team directly at (800) 367-3743. If the vehicle is not drivable and you need a tow or a rental vehicle, ERIE’s 24/7 customer care team will arrange it for you.

Do you need to call the police if you’re in an auto accident?

To create an official documentation of the accident, it is recommended you call the police. If they are unable to come to the scene, ask them how you can file a report for insurance purposes. You can still file even if the other party chooses not to wait for the police. A police report may help with the claims process and provides a record of what happened.

Do you always need to report an accident to your insurance?

Contact your agent if you’re unsure. They can guide you through the next steps and answer any questions that might come up along the way. If your agent is not available, call ERIE’s claims service at (800) 367-3743. When you report your claim to ERIE, our expert claims team will help handle every step of the process.

What do you do if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident?

  1. Try to get the license plate information and make, model, and color of the vehicle.
  2. Call 911 or the police.
  3. Gather witness accounts and be sure to get their names and contact information.
  4. Take photos or video that can show the damage or how the accident happened.
  5. File a police report.

What do you do if the other driver in an accident doesn’t have insurance or an ID?

  1. Take a picture of their license plate.
  2. Record details about the scene of the accident, including photos and descriptions.
  3. Call 911 or the police.

How does ERIE protect me if there is a claim?

Gather as many details as you can and share them with your claims adjuster. ERIE will always seek to protect your interests by completing a full investigation and fair settlement.

What happens if I have an accident in a state outside of ERIE’s footprint?

Call your agent or ERIE at (800) 367-3743 to get the claims process started. We’ll help get you back on the road in any state.

If I have an accident out of state, where do I take my car for repair?

If you choose to have your vehicle repaired out of state, depending on the state, several channels are available to receive an estimate and settlement. Options include photo appraisal, submitting a local shop’s estimate for review or ERIE will engage a 3rd party appraiser to assess your vehicle’s damages.

What happens after you report your claim?

An ERIE rep will review and contact you to obtain a statement of the loss and set up any identified services needed. You have the option to opt in to texting as an additional channel of communication. If your vehicle is a total loss and you are paying on an auto loan, have the name of the loan provider and account number available. If you have your title (you get this once your car is paid in full), locate it, and provide all named parties on the title to the claim handler.

Do I have to take my car to an ERIE-approved repair shop?

No, you always have the choice of where you want your auto repairs done. However, ERIE maintains a list of many reputable auto body shops in your area to help you decide, or you can ask your adjuster to provide local shop names.

What happens if ERIE’s estimate isn’t enough to cover all the damages?

Supplements are common. The full extent of damages is not always known until certain parts of the vehicle are removed. If a repair shop finds additional accident damage, your adjuster will review and make a supplemental payment for the additional damages if it’s confirmed that they were related to the original claim.

How will you be contacted by ERIE?

You can choose your preferred method of contact from ERIE when you report your claim. Available options include phone, email and text messaging. It’s recommended to always provide your email address. You can also advise on the best time to reach you if it is outside of normal business hours.

Who will contact you during your claim?

Depending on the claim, you may work with multiple ERIE employees who are experienced professionals in the specific area they contact you about.

How am I determined to be at fault in an accident?

ERIE will complete a full investigation, which may include, but isn’t limited to obtaining weather and police reports, police body camera footage, dashboard camera footage, scene photos, statements from all parties involved, and witness statements.


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