As a driver, there’s always a risk of getting into a bingle on the road. Accidents happen unexpectedly no matter how safe you are. It’s a scary experience but there are things you can do to stay calm, alert and well-armed to make an insurance claim. Let us help you know what to do after a car accident – read on…
Stop the Car Immediately in a Safe Area
If you’re involved in a car accident, the first thing to do is stop. Move your car to the side of the road so you don’t block traffic. If you can’t move your car, turn on the hazard lights to warn other drivers.
Then, get out of your vehicle and move to a safe place. Remove any dangerous items from the road (if you can do that without risk) and stay at the scene of the car accident until emergency services arrive. Leaving the scene after an accident you’re involved in is a criminal offence in Australia.
Check Other Passengers
Check your passengers and call an ambulance immediately if they’re seriously injured. Make sure you check on other drivers or pedestrians as well to make sure they’re okay too. If needed, administer first aid until help arrives – being prepared with a first aid kid in your car is a great idea.
Call Emergency and Police Services
Call 000 if someone has been injured, property has been damaged, or the owner of the other vehicle refuses to give their personal details. You can also report if the other party seems to be intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.
Take Details and Photos
While car accidents are stressful, try to not lose focus – remember to swap details with any other party involved in the accident. Take note of their:
- Name, address, phone number
- Driver’s license number, registration plate, car model
- Insurer details
You should do the same for any witness to the accident.
It’s important to also take photos of the incident scene if possible, including your vehicle and other vehicles with their registration plates showing. Take photos of the front and back of the third party’s licence too, especially if their current address isn’t on the front.
These days most of us have a smartphone on hand, so if that’s you then please make the effort to grab photos. This will help your insurer and other parties understand what’s happened.
Reporting to the Police
A major accident needs to be reported to the police within 24 hours. A major accident may involve:
- Where someone was injured or killed
- Details between parties were not exchanged
- Vehicle or property damage is estimated to be around $3,000 or more
While minor accidents need not be reported, it is always a good idea to file a police report anyway as insurers often ask for it when filing a claim.
Do Not Admit Fault
Even if you think you are responsible for the accident, don’t admit fault until you have reported it to your insurer. Your insurer will assess the accident and decide if you are indeed at fault.
Contacting Your Insurer and Making a Claim
Whether your insurance is comprehensive or third party, you should call your insurer as soon as possible. The sooner your insurer knows about the accident, the sooner your claim can be processed. They may even be able to help you get your car towed.
Car insurance policies differ but your insurer will generally need:
- Name, contact details, and license number of other parties
- Date and location
- Other parties’ insurance details
- A summary of how the accident happened
Review Your Car Insurance
It always pays to be on top of your car insurance. Know what you’re covered for or not. It also pays to review your insurance policy regularly, as you could be unaware there are savings to be had! It’s worth shopping around.
Over to You – What To Do After A Car Accident
Have we missed anything that you think is important in knowing what to do after a car accident? Do you have a story to share below? We’d love to hear from you.