It just happens to be a snowy, icy day as we are writing this blog, and our Miller Restoration experts have already been called out to one bad automobile accident – a car into its home’s front porch.
Happily, the driver was OK; the car and the porch? Not so much.
Our Miller team figured it’s the perfect time to remind our family of clients how important it is to leave all aspects of vehicle impact clean-up to the professionals – especially when the impact is to your home, and there may be structural damage.
Since late winter weather can be unpredictable, we often see weather-related accidents at this time of year, with ice being a factor as to why vehicles collide with buildings.
No matter the time of year, though, following any type of auto accident, one of the first calls you’ll make is to your insurance company, to request assistance. If you’ve collided with your home or any building, this is the point at which you should ask for a Miller Restoration team to be dispatched to your location for vehicle impact clean-up.
In addition to securing the building, your vehicle and belongings and helping clear the scene, our team will ensure you and your family and pets stay warm while this is all going on. We’ll assess your home for structural damage and advise the owner, if it’s not you, with a report they can pass on to their insurance company.
Don’t get us wrong: After an auto accident, your first call should always be 9-1-1, especially if you suspect someone is injured. The operator will take it from there, dispatching EMS, police and/or fire as necessary.
In any auto accident with injuries, injured parties will be transported from the scene by ambulance; flammable materials will be contained by firefighters using their foam equipment, and depending on the state of the vehicles involved, they will be assessed for damages, and released back to their drivers.
If the accident scene is a little more complicated – such as somebody’s vehicle into your living room – police may need to determine whether criminal charges are required. They will advise you as to their intentions, and may release you from the scene while they proceed with their investigation.
If police clear both you and the scene, you’ll be free to have your car towed to the garage of your choice. Your insurance company may suggest a garage it has worked with previously, if you don’t have one of your own.
Here’s when our Miller teams spring into action, to assess structural damage to the building; help the owner remove valuables; board up the damage or add support; turn off utilities as needed, and make a report that can be used by the owner’s insurance company. We work with many insurance companies to ensure proper procedures are followed, so your repairs can take place in a timely manner.
Your insurance adjustor will visit both the building and the garage to assess damages, guided by the police report and our accident site assessment report.
So, what happens next, if, in fact, you drove your vehicle into your living room?
It’s time for rebuilding and repair, both for your home and for your vehicle.
Depending on the damage sustained and the weather, repairs to your home may take several weeks. Your insurance company will advise you as to the schedule, and may put you directly in touch with your general contractor to make communications easier.
Regarding your vehicle, your insurance company will notify you of its decision to repair or replace it, with approval for a rental car to bridge the gap for you.
And that’s pretty much it.
If you have never been in an auto accident, especially during winter weather, and you have questions, there is one easy place you can go for answers: The Financial Services Commission of Ontario publishes an online help service, all about automobile insurance, with a page devoted to what happens following an auto accident in Ontario.
For example, if you and another driver have experienced a minor “fender-bender,” you do not need to have police attend, although you should both pull over and photograph the damage on your cars. Then, you have 24 hours to report the accident at a local collision reporting centre. For information on Niagara’s collision reporting centres in Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Welland, visit HERE.
Take care on the roads during this late winter weather in Niagara. Although our teams at Miller Restoration love to help, we really don’t want to hear that your car has ended up in your living room!
Are you in need of vehicle impact clean-up, or advice following a disaster in your home? Our experts at Miller Restoration would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Call the Miller office at 905-688-9224, or visit our website contact page, HERE.