Each year, millions of Americans become victims of a car crash that causes mess on their day (and often their body and vehicle.) Auto accidents are stressful situations that can lead us to reveal more of our personal information to strangers than necessary. Even small fender benders can cause long-term pain if a friendly exchange of info leads to a compromise of one’s most sensitive personally-identifying data. A recent survey taken by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) revealed that many of us don’t know the proper steps to take after an accident, and most of us share too much.
In order to help drivers, the NAIC has developed a free mobile application called WreckCheck that will guide them through the process and outlines the important details that need to be exchanged without leaving ourselves open to identity theft compromise. The app addresses questions such as whether the police should be called, whether addresses and phone numbers should change hands, etc. According to NAIC, drivers generally need only share their names and correct vehicle insurance information. Information we are better off not giving out includes driver’s license numbers, home addresses, and even personal phone numbers. (Instead, it is best to provide the phone numbers of insurance providers.)
The app offers step-by-step guidelines for confirming that drivers gather the information they need from the other drivers, too. It will even generate an accident report that can be given to law enforcement and insurance companies and kept on file for one’s personal records. The report can include photos of the scene and can be emailed directly to insurers and others from within the program itself.