If your car cover’s up for renewal and you’re searching for cheap car insurance quotes, being involved in a car accident is likely to be the last thing on your mind. But by their very nature, accidents happen when you least expect them to, which is why it’s important to be prepared. Here, comparison site mustard.co.uk, sets out what you should do in five easy to remember steps.
1) Stop and assess
After an accident, you must stop by law. You should switch off the engine but keep your hazard lights on. Check on any passengers or anyone else that may have been affected.
It’s absolutely vital not to apologise — that might be a tough call for us Brits who love nothing better than saying sorry but it could be used as an admission of liability later on. So, unless you’re absolutely confident about what happened, don’t make any attempt to apologise.
2) Exchange details
By law, you must exchange your name, address and insurance details with the other driver or drivers involved. If there are any witnesses or bystanders, it’s a good idea to ask for their details too, just in case the police or your insurance firm need to speak to them for evidence.
It’s worth just making sure that the other driver is also the registered car owner. If they aren’t, you should try and find out who is. If you’ve been in an accident with a lorry or other commercial vehicle, note down trailer identification details and the name of the firm who owns the vehicle.
3) Report the accident if necessary
If anyone has been injured or you think the situation is dangerous (for example, if the road is blocked or there’s been significant damage) then call the emergency services. You’ll also have to call the police if:
- The other driver refuses to give you their details.
- You think the other driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- You think a crime has been committed, for instance, if you suspect it’s a crash for cash
- Certain animals have been hit (specifically, horses, cattle, pigs, asses, mules, sheep, goats or dogs).
- Property has been damaged (this includes privately owned property like fences and walls, as well as things like traffic lights, bollards or road signs).
However, if no one’s been hurt and there’s no reason to suspect it was anything more than an accident, you don’t have to report the incident to the police — as long as you exchange details. If you can’t swap details for whatever reason, you have to report it to the nearest police station within 24 hours .
4) Gather information
If you need to make a claim, you should try and gather as many details as possible as this can help clarify details for your insurer and speed up the process. This includes the number plate of the other car.
If you can, take notes or photos and video footage and consider:
- Local speed limits.
- Weather conditions at the time, for example, was it raining or was visibility poor?
- If you’re driving rurally, take photos of hedges and verges, do any of these obscure parts of the road?
- If you can, date and time stamp your photo and video evidence too.
5) Contact your insurer
Try to contact your insurer as soon as possible after the incident. Ideally, if you can call them from the scene itself, this gives your insurer the chance to ask specific questions while you’re there.
Insurers all have their own processes but you can help speed up the process if you’re able to give them your policy number. With that in mind, it’s worth keeping a copy of your insurance certificate in your glove box just in case you need it.
If you’ve got fully comprehensive insurance and your car needs repairing, try not to do anything until you’ve spoken to your insurer. Many have a list of preferred workshops and garages so going ahead and fixing your car without discussing it with them, could mean they refuse to pay you any compensation.
Remember — if you only have third party cover, your policy will only cover damage you cause to other people and their property. Damage to your own car isn’t covered and you’ll need to pay for repairs yourself unless the other driver was at fault.
To compare car insurance policies in just a few clicks, start a quote right now at mustard.co.uk.