Having a car accident anywhere in the world is nerve-wracking, here are some tips about what to do when one happens and how to deal with the insurance claim process afterward. 

1. Safety First

– Where possible check you have moved your vehicle safely off the road
– Put on your hazard lights
– If necessary, ask someone to stand between one and two football fields (100 to 200 meters) from the accident and flag down drivers to alert them of the accident.

If anyone is injured, call 111 to ask for ambulance services. 

2. Get Details

If it is a minor accident and you both clearly agree on who was at fault then exchange details with other drivers and witnesses:

Aim to record:
– Names
– Addresses (of the other drivers/witnesses)
– Phone numbers (mobile numbers)
– Car registration (the number plate of the other vehicles)
– Insurance company details

If you have been hit by an uninsured driver then it is especially important that you ask for details and if possible, record the driver’s license details of the driver.

3. Take Photos

Take photos of the damage to your vehicle (and the other person’s vehicle) as well as any other photos that could be relevant to an insurance claim.

4. Property Damage

If you caused damage to another person’s property (such as a fence), report it to that person within 48 hours. If you are unable to contact that person you should notify the police.

5. When to Contact the Police

If there are any injuries as a result of the accident (even minor injuries), these should be reported to the police within 24 hours of the accident.

6. Insurance Claims

  • If you caused the accident then you need to contact your insurance company promptly and ask for the claims department.

You will need to fill out a claims form and email it back to the claims department.

  • If someone else caused the accident and they have insurance, they need to lodge a claim with their insurance company. You could ask that they phone, email, or text message you when this has been done and provide you with a claim number.

You can ask for information about the claim process from the driver or contact the insurance company directly (with the claim number) and ask for information.

Unfortunately, claims processing is rarely a fast procedure, so be prepared that it could take two or more weeks to get clear on the outcome of the insurance claim.

  • If someone has caused an accident and is not insured then you need to deal directly with that person.

If they clearly agree they are liable, put this in writing (email is good).

If you need to get your car repaired, it could be worthwhile getting two or three quotes for the repairs and liaising with the driver so they can see you have shopped around for a fair price for the repairs.

If there is a dispute over who is liable then you may need to lodge a claim with the Disputes Tribunal.