If you have a vehicle accident which causes injury or damage, you must give your name and address, and details of your insurance policy to anyone who reasonably needs it.
If you’re involved in an accident, do not admit liability. Take the name and address of the other driver, and details of their insurance company, and of any witnesses. If anyone is injured, call the police. If they do not attend the scene, or if someone else’s property has been damaged, the accident must be reported to the police within 24 hours.
You must tell your insurance company about the accident, even if you do not intend making a claim, as you will always need to report an incident. Your broker can advise you about whether you should make a claim or not.
If you intend to claim, you’ll have to contact your broker. You should wait for the go-ahead from your insurance company before having your vehicle repaired. They may want a damage assessor to look at it, or you may have to supply estimates before the work is done. Some insurers may have their own repair schemes, where you can take the vehicle to garages which may be able to start repairs immediately.
If you have to pay a proportion of the repair costs, then you must pay this to the repairer irrespective of who was to blame for the accident. Should you decide to go ahead with the repair yourself, you are responsible for the cost until your insurers have agreed to pay. But beware of taking this course of action, because if the insurer can show repairs could have been done cheaper somewhere else, they may pay a lesser amount than you claim.
If your vehicle is not worth repairing, the insurance company will offer you a lump sum for it. This is known as a ‘write-off’ or ‘total-loss’. The damaged vehicle then belongs to them.
After an accident, you may incur expenses which are not covered by your policy – examples are the cost of hiring a car while yours is repaired, or compensation for personal injury. Such expenses might be claimed against a third party – again, your broker will be able to give you all the advice you need.
Your Accident Checklist
Print out this checklist and keep it in your car in case you have an accident.
If you are involved in an accident, do not admit liability