Here’s what to do if you have an accident on the road, including exchanging details and reporting the incident to your insurer.
Unfortunately, most motorists will have to deal with being in a car accident at some time in their driving career.
It’s a high-stress situation, but it’ll be easier to navigate if you’re calm, prepared and know what do and how to notify your car insurance.
If you have an accident, you must stop to exchange contact and car insurance details.
Unless it’s unsafe to do so, you must stop if:
If you don’t, you’ll be committing a criminal offence.
You must report the incident to the police as soon as you can, but it must be within 24 hours.
If you fail to stop or fail to report an incident, you could be fined, given penalty points or a driving ban, or even sentenced to six months in prison.
You should also call the police if you’re blocking the road.
Don’t apologise when you stop. Saying 'sorry' may seem like a polite gesture, but it could leave you liable for the repairs.
Although saying sorry isn’t a legal admission of guilt, it could be used against you if you were to make a claim. Your policy may also state you can’t admit guilt at the scene of an accident.
Don’t point the finger either. Even if you know they were in the wrong, stay calm. Engaging in an argument at the side of the road might only make matters worse.
Once you’ve stopped, the first thing to do is check whether you or anyone else is injured and get them the medical attention they need.
Call an ambulance and police immediately if anyone is hurt.
Legally, there are certain details you must give at the scene of an accident
If that’s not possible, give them to the police within 24 hours.
You need to share:
Your name and address with everyone involved - by law, you must do this if anything’s been damaged or if anyone’s been injured
Your insurance details (that’s who you’re insured with and your policy number) with other drivers
Your certificate of insurance - if anyone has been injured and someone at the scene has reasonable grounds to see it
Your contact details
Your driving licence number
Get those details from the others involved too.
If you’re hit by an uninsured driver, it’s even more important to get these details - your insurer might agree to protect your no claims discount if you have them.
Get as much information together as you can.
That’ll make it easier to provide evidence to your insurer if you claim.
Make sure you note down:
Always tell your insurer about an accident straight away, even if you don’t want to claim.
The other driver could claim against you so it’s best to let your insurer know your side of the story first.
Your insurer should now handle the claim for you. If you’re contacted directly by anyone else involved in the accident or their insurer, just ask them to contact your insurer instead.
You’ll have a set period from when the accident happens to tell your insurer - it could be a few days or a couple of weeks. If you don’t, you could invalidate your cover.
You can find out how long you have in your policy documents.
But you must report a traffic accident which has caused damage or injuries to the police within 24 hours. You’ve also got to tell your insurer that the incident occurred, even if you're not intending to claim.
Last checked 27 August 2019