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What to do if you’re involved in a car accident

Car accidents happen all the time, on all kinds of roads, at all kinds of speeds, right across the UK every day. Being involved in an accident, even if it’s just a minor bump, can be quite traumatic and upsetting. More so if your car is badly damaged or if you or another driver or pedestrian sustains an injury. Even under these stressful conditions, it is important to keep your head and gather as much information as you can, as this will assist us to make a full and fair settlement of any insurance claims made by you or the other people involved.

Safety first

You should ensure that the scene of the accident is as safe as possible, reducing the possibility of a further accident occurring. Then see if anyone is seriously hurt and requires medical attention. If so, you should call an ambulance:

Once you have made the scene safe, you can move on to gathering the information you need whilst it is still fresh in your mind.

Information gathering – what to collect

You should gather as much information about the accident as you can while at the scene, or record the details as soon as possible afterwards, while it is still fresh in your mind. You should record the exact details of the accident, including:

If you have a camera on your mobile phone, you should take pictures to show the damage caused and the relative road positions of the vehicles at the point of impact. It is known for people to claim for damage that was not actually caused by the accident, so these pictures are crucial for reducing fraudulent claims and ensuring low cost insurance for everyone. If you don’t have a phone with a camera, a good idea is to keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment.

Being able to provide as much detail as possible about the driving conditions, road conditions etc. will significantly help with investigating your claim and could be the difference in you not losing your no claims bonus and saving you money in the long run on your insurance premiums.

You should also gather as much information as possible about those involved, as well as any witnesses. You will need to record:

You have a legal obligation to disclose this information at the scene of an accident, so if anyone drives away without leaving their details, note their registration number and call the police immediately.

You should also make a note of the name and number of any police officer attending the scene of the accident, or any officer you encounter when producing documents at the police station. A car accident should be reported to the police immediately when it blocks the road or causes serious injuries, and must be reported within 24 hours in all other cases. Failing to report an accident is an offence that could lead to a fine and penalty points on your licence these will then remain on your licence for 3 years and will affect your insurance premiums over that time.

Never admit liability

What may at first appear to be your fault, from your point of view, may in fact turn out not to be, once all the evidence has been gathered. It is easy in the emotions and shock of an accident to say sorry, it is the British way, but you should try to put your emotions aside and just take practical details wherever possible.

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible

All insurance companies have specialised teams to take you step by step through the claims procedure. However, you will need to report the accident to your own insurer as soon as possible.

Most insurance companies will send you to an approved repair centre for your repairs and some offer courtesy car while the repairs are carried out. You should always consult with your car or van insurance company before becoming involved with any claims management company that cold calls you unless they are representing your insurance company. These companies can be predatory in nature and may not offer the same high quality insurance service as respected car insurance companies.

Download the Octagon Claims App

Octagon Insurance understands that being involved in a road traffic incident can be a distressing experience, making it difficult for you to think clearly about what information you may need to collect in order to submit a claim. That’s why Octagon has developed an app to help you in such a situation.

Download the iPhone app here

Got an Android phone? Download the app here

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