A checklist for when the unanticipated occurs
While there has been an 11 percent decrease in UK road accidents within the last five years, there were still 181,384 reported cases during 2016.
When it comes to car accidents many may think, ‘it will never happen to me’. Unfortunately, that might not be the case and things can happen outside even the most experienced of motorists’ control.
For help when you need it most, Warranty Direct has put together advice to make sure you’re prepared, whatever happens on the roads…
You never know when an accident might occur, so it’s important to be prepared. Have your insurance information, vehicle registration and license available at all times while on the road.
In case emergency situations occur in the dark or with bad visibility, it’s a good idea to have a torch, reflective triangle and high visibility jacket in your car to ensure other motorists can see you.
Even if you think it’s not serious and you’ve only caused a couple of scuffs or scratches, you must stop after an accident. Failing to do so is a punishable offence by the Road Traffic Act.
If your car is driveable, find a safe place to pull over, switch off your engine and turn your hazard lights on to alert other road users.
If anyone has been hurt, contact an ambulance as soon as possible. Unless their injuries prevent it, remove passengers from the vehicle to a safe place. If the road is blocked, you should call the police.
You and your passengers should stand behind the motorway crash barrier, wearing reflective jackets, so you are visible to other drivers and wait for the emergency services to arrive.
According to the Highway Code, you must leave any animals in the vehicle or, in an emergency, keep them under control on the verge.
Collect all the necessary details
When you’re involved in a car accident you’re obligated to give your name and address to anyone else involved. You should also collect contact details from any drivers, passengers and witnesses.
Ask any drivers involved for their insurance details and establish whether they own the vehicle. If they don’t, find out who does and note their details.
If damage has been caused to third party property or a parked car you should leave a note with your contact details on a car’s windscreen if you’re unable to find the owner. If you don’t exchange details at the scene, you must report the incident to the police within 24 hours.
You’ll also need to make note of other details, which will help when it comes to sorting out the incident with insurers.
- Time and date of the crash
- Registration, colour, make and model of all vehicles involved
- Photos for evidence – most mobiles will take good enough pictures to help you recall significant details.
Dealing with your insurer
It’s important to try to stay neutral and not accept liability or apologise if you’re unsure of who or what has caused the accident. Of course, this can be difficult in a stressful situation when emotions are heightened, but believe it or not, even saying something as small as ‘sorry’, could work against you later on when claiming for insurance.
While you are not obligated to claim after an accident, you should report the accident to your insurer within the time stated in your policy. Otherwise, your insurer has the right to refuse to cover you in future.
If you have GAP insurance, it’s worth noting some providers will ask you to call them before accepting any offer by your regular insurer. Make sure you inform the insurance provider of the accident to ensure the correct pay-out from the motor insurer.