Having an accident is always traumatic, small or large, your fault or not.
Some accidents are bigger than others but if the accident is small enough not to call the police there are some key things you should try to do at the time of the accident to make any future insurance claims easier to sort out.
1. Take photos of the accident showing where both cars came to rest.
2. Take photos of any road marking or road furniture that you think is relevant. For example traffic lights, hedges, signs, bollards, road markings etc
3. Depending on your vehicle recovery service, your provider may have a service where they will send out a driver to take statements from both drivers. If your provider does off this it is well worth taking the time to call them
4. Witnesses. It can be problematic getting witnesses and maybe impossible if none of the witnesses stop but if they do take their name and address regardless of whether their story supports yours or not.
5. Complete the accident reports form and get both parties to sign. This could be easier said than done especially if both parties are blaming each other. At least getting down the points both parties agree on onto paper is a start, even if both parties cannot agree on the full story!
6. Take each other details.
Exchange details with the other driver and if possible ask for ID to confirm their identity. At a minimum you should get their full name, address, telephone number, registration number, make, model and colour of the car, the name of their insurer and if possible the telephone number and address of their insurer, if possible their driving license number.
If you think the other party is being unnecessarily evasive or reluctant to supply these details it may be worth your while calling the police, although be prepared for a wait.
That is about as much as you can do at the accident scene and as I mentioned these things are easier said than done at the time!
When you get home inform your insurance company as soon as possible and they will let you know what needs to be done next.
Your insurance company deals with claims everyday so they will take you through everything you need to do including sending or emailing you any paperwork they need completed.
Sorting a claim out can take months, especially if the other party is claiming they are not at fault.
If you have fully comprehensive insurance there should not be a big delay to sort out the claim, but finding out if you keep your no claims bonus for next year could take longer to sort out if the other party is blaming you for the accident.
Once you get your insurance company involved they will take a lot of the stress of you and negotiate with the other insurers to get some sort of settlement.
Like many things, insurance claims are not a black and white issue and it is normal to reach agreements after a period of time so don’t worry if you don’t get definite answers immediately.
Hopefully this guide has given you some guidance with regards to what to do at the time of an accident for more information contact your insurer. They will be more than happy to supply you with all the information you could need.
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