Be prepared: 7 steps to take after a car accident

By Chris Dougherty, General Manager, Westlawn Insurance
23 July 2014

It’s something that thankfully you won’t experience all too often, and hopefully won’t ever have to go through.

But unfortunately, car accidents do happen. And knowing what to do if you’re ever involved in a bingle could make all the difference.

So, here are 7 steps you’d need to take after a car accident … just in case.

 Step 1:  Safety first

Most importantly, check if anyone involved in the accident has been injured. Determine whether there is any immediate danger. Can damaged vehicles be safely moved off the road?

Call the 000 Emergency Number if anyone is injured or if the accident scene may be dangerous. For example, leaking fuel, fire, downed power lines or trees, overturned cars or a damaged building would definitely be dangerous.

Step 2: Need a tow?

Can your vehicle be driven safely? If not, or if you’re in any doubt, arrange for your car to be towed. If you do need a tow, you’ll also need to get the police involved.

Step 3: Listen to police

If the police are on the scene, follow any directions given and provide as much information as you can about what happened. If the accident is serious, a police report will be made. Ask for the police report number. You’ll need this for your insurance claim.

Step 4: Take notes at the scene

Record as much information as possible at the scene including:

    • Time and date of the accident
    • Location of the accident including street name and nearest cross street. What is close by? Traffic lights, pedestrian crossing, house numbers, shops or other buildings etc.
    • Were any other drivers or vehicles involved in the accident? If so, record the details such as vehicle registration, driver’s name, address and their insurance details.
    • Were any other people involved such as witnesses, police or emergency workers? Take a note of their contact details, where possible.
    • Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and to any other vehicles. Also take photos of the accident scene that could be relevant to your claim, such as skid marks, obscured road signs or dangerous road conditions.

Step 5: Call your broker

As soon as possible, contact your Westlawn Insurance Broker for advice on what to do next. They’ll also get the ball rolling on your insurance claim.

Step 6: Get home, record the details

After getting home and having a comforting cuppa, record all the details of the accident for your Insurance Broker or insurer:

    • Type of accident and damage caused
    • In as much detail as possible, how the accident happened, and
    • Your insurance policy details.

Step 7: Be prepared

Finally, a car accident is something you don’t plan for, but you can certainly be prepared for. Make sure your Westlawn Insurance Broker’s contact details are saved in your phone.

Also, ask your broker or insurer about any apps you can download to your smartphone. For example, the Vero Drive Claims app provides a step-by-step guide for recording details of a car accident into your phone and then allows you to send the information (including photos) through to the insurer right from the app. Your insurer may have a similar app available.

For more information about insurance for your vehicles, contact a Westlawn Insurance Broker.