Getting into a car accident is an extremely stressful experience, even if the damage is relatively minor. It’s important to be prepared with what to do just in case it ever happens to you, as the shock of the crash could make it difficult to keep a clear head. This simple guide explains what do so if you get into an accident and how to make your claim.
The first thing you’ll need to do is assess the scene and decide whether to call emergency services. You’ll obviously need to call the police if anybody is injured – and you should also consider calling them if there has been severe damage.
Avoid accepting any blame for the incident, even if you feel that it was your fault. It’s difficult to objectively assign blame in the immediate aftermath of a crash and accepting that it’s your fault, even if that’s simply by apologising, may cause problems later.
You do need to exchange details with any other drivers involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses. It’s also a good idea to take photographs of the scene if you’re able to, parting particular attention to any damage. This may be needed as evidence.
Notifying you insurance company
The person who accepts responsibility for the accident will need to claim on their insurance – so it may be that the other driver needs to pay out. Either way, though, you still need to let your insurance company know. Find your insurance paperwork, which should include a dedicated claims number.
When you call, explain clearly what happened. Make sure that you share all the details, as giving misleading information could stop your claim from going through. Your insurer will also want to know the other driver’s details. They can then deal with the other insurance company on your behalf, making the situation a little less stressful.
Notifying your insurance company won’t affect your no claims bonus if the claim ends up coming from the other driver’s insurance.
What happens if there’s a dispute?
You and the other driver may disagree about who’s at fault. In this case, the insurance companies will need to consider all the details and decide on an outcome. This is where the photographs from the scene, as well as a full and accurate account of the accident, will prove invaluable. You’ll be expected to give evidence that backs up your claim.
It is possible to dispute the outcome, however this would involve going to court and should only be considered as a last resort.
Dealing with an uninsured driver
It’s illegal to drive without insurance, so you should report or to the police if somebody hits your car and then claims that they don’t have insurance. Your insurance policy may include ‘uninsured driver’ cover. This would allow you to make the claim through your own insurance company without having to pay the excess of affecting your no claims bonus.
If you have any questions about the process of making a claim, your insurance company should be able to share all the details.