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What to do after a car accident

What to do after a car accident

If you’ve had a car accident – no matter how minor – it can be a real shock to the system. To help you keep your cool, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide that explains what you should do if you ever find yourself in this unfortunate situation, as well as all the information your car insurance provider will need to know.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
posted 27 JANUARY 2020

Your immediate steps after an accident

  1. Stop safely as soon as you can and switch off the engine
  2. Check that you and your passengers are okay. Try to stay as calm as possible, as making rushed decisions or scrambling out of the car without knowing what’s happened around you could cause more harm
  3. Get out of the car carefully and look around. If someone is hurt or vehicles are blocking the road, call the police and an ambulance immediately.

Details and information you’ll need to collect after an accident

If another vehicle has been involved, you’ll need to exchange details. Make sure you note:

  • The registration of the other vehicle or vehicles
  • The name, address and phone number of the other driver or drivers, and any witnesses
  • The insurance details of the other driver or drivers involved. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you must notify the police – it’s against the law in the UK to drive without car insurance
  • The time and date of the accident

It will also be of benefit to take photos of the accident scene and any injuries sustained – they’ll help to back up your claim and could also help to jog your memory if you forget any details.

If the person driving the other vehicle isn’t the registered owner, ask who is and find out their contact details.

If you’ve hit a parked vehicle and the owner can’t be identified, leave your details somewhere visible, such as on the windscreen.

Report the accident to the police

All motoring accidents should be reported to the police within 24 hours. If you don’t inform them, you could be fined, given points on your licence or even end up disqualified.

Contact your insurance provider

You should tell your insurance provider about your accident (even if you don’t want to make a claim) within a reasonable amount of time. The definition of ‘reasonable’ differs among insurance providers but will be set out in your policy documents – it can vary between two days to a couple of weeks. If you don’t report the accident within the stated time, it could invalidate any claim you make following the incident.

You should always speak to your insurance provider before having your car repaired. They might want you to use an approved garage, so taking your car to the garage down the road might invalidate your claim. Depending on your policy, you may or may not be given courtesy car.

Get a good deal on your car insurance

If you drive a car, then you’ll need car insurance – there’s no getting out of it – but finding the right policy doesn’t need to be hard work. Compare car insurance with us and you can be confident that you’re getting a deal that’s right for you.

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