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What to do if you have a car accident

While we hope that you never have to experience the stress and shock of a car accident, it’s important to know what to do in case of an incident. Let’s go through some of the first actions you’ll need to take, through to contacting your insurer to start the claims process.

On the scene

Whether you’ve just had someone bump you, or are in a serious accident involving multiple vehicles, the first thing to do in case of a car accident is check that all parties are safe and treat any injuries.

It’s likely that the other party, just like yourself, will be shocked or scared by the incident. Therefore, you should try to remain calm and polite.

  1. If possible pull over out of the way from other traffic, turn off your car, and switch on your hazard lights
  2. If it’s safe, check other parties for injuries and if needed call for help on 000
  3. If there are no injuries and damage is minor, there won’t be a need to call for police
  4. If you can’t start your car and it’s safe to do so, get assistance to push it over to the side of the road
  5. If you’ve called for emergency services, wait for them to arrive and do not leave the scene

No matter how distraught you are, ensure not to admit responsibility.

Collecting and exchanging details

At the scene, you’ll need to swap details with the other driver/s. Exchange:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Insurer details
  • Vehicle details including colour, make and model

Also note down details including:

  • Date and time of the incident
  • Location of the incident
  • Summary of what has happened
  • Witness details and contact information
  • Photos of the crash site and damage to vehicles and/or property
  • On site police officer details and report number

These details will come in handy later down the track when it comes to making an insurance claim, or if any legal action is pursued.

Reporting your crash to police

The rules for filing a report with police varies by state and specific circumstances of the accident, such as whether:

  • The estimated damage bill is over a certain amount
  • The owner of the property or vehicle damaged is not at the scene
  • Someone has been injured at the scene of the crash
  • Complicated circumstances due to location or severity of the crash

Make sure you’re aware of the requirements for reporting in your state. Most states will allow you to lodge an accident report online.

When to get your insurer involved

If there has been damage to your car or the other party’s car, you’ll need to lodge a claim with your insurer. You don’t have to wait to start the claims process, simply call 13 24 80. You’ll be asked for your policy number and details of the incident, so ensure to have all of the information you have collected above ready to go.

To speak to a Car Insurance specialist at CGU call 13 24 81, or find more information on our website.