What To Do In An Auto Accident or Claim

What to do after an accident

Man and woman filling an insurance car form after bad car crash

We all rely on our vehicles to get us to work or places that we need to be. The last thing we need on our plate is an auto accident or claim, and if you’re like the rest of us, you most likely don’t even want to consider this ever happening to you. You could even be the world’s greatest driver, but there is a good chance one day you too will have an auto accident. It could be no fault of your own, but you will have to know what to do if that happens.

Due to the copious amount of different scenarios that can cause a car accident and the variable situations that can happen afterwards, we will stick to what you need to do for insurance purposes. If you are looking for information about calling police, tow trucks, or any other detailed information when dealing with an auto collision, please click here to read FSCO’s article on the subject. Please also be aware of any tow truck or storage scams. FSCO has a great article on these types of scams on their website.

One thing to remember is that if a collision is estimated to cost $2,000 or more in total damage, drivers must report it to police or a collision reporting center.

What Information to Gather for Insurance

After you have had an accident it can be very hectic. You start immediately worrying about your vehicle, your health, the things you need a vehicle for, and the money this is most likely just cost you. There is information you have to gather in order to put in an insurance claim and the more information you get, the faster the claim process will go.

The information you need to gather to pass along to your insurance company is as follows:

  • Description of what happened
  • The Third Parties Information
    • Name (Vehicle Owner/Vehicle Driver)
    • Insurance Company
    • Policy Number & Expiry Date
    • Driver’s License Number
    • Vehicle Year, Make, and Model
    • Licence Plate Number
  • Police Report Number with Name and Badge Number of the Officer
  • Witness’ Information (if any)

Most of the third parties information can be taken right off their liability slip (pink slip) except the licence plate and drivers licence numbers. If you don’t have access to a pen and paper, you can always take a picture of their pink slip.

The insurance company will also ask questions such as the time, place, and how the accident happened. They will be asking where on your vehicle there is damage and if there was anyone injured in the accident (not just the drivers).

If you want a printout to keep in your car, FSCO has kindly created a nice PDF of the information to gather on their website.

When Should I Tell My Broker?

It is important to let your broker know what is happening as soon as safely possible. Your broker can start the claim process and depending on your coverages, your broker can help you arrange a rental car and walk you through the process of putting in a claim. Your insurance broker is there for you during this process and will be your advocate to the insurance company.

Who Determines Who is At Fault?

The first thing the insurance company will do is determine who is at fault for the collision. The name “no-fault” is a term that will grind most insurance broker’s gears as it’s extremely misleading to the consumer (all of us). If you get into an auto accident with another Ontario insured driver the insurance company will take accounts of the drivers, police, and witnesses in order to apply the situation to the Fault Determination Rules to determine who is at fault. In these rules there are over 40 accident scenarios using diagrams to illustrate the different causes of fault in an auto collision and are applied no matter what the weather or road conditions were at the time of the collision.

How Does My Vehicle Get Fixed?

Once the insurance company has gone over your coverages and the information provided about the accident, an adjuster will be in touch with you to schedule the vehicle for an estimate on the damage. Once the estimated cost of repair has been submitted to the company they will take that information and determine if the vehicle can be or should be repaired for that cost. The insurance company will pay the lower of the following:

  • the cost to repair the loss or damage, or
  • the “actual cash value” of your vehicle at the time it was damaged.

If the vehicle is repairable they will arrange a time with you to get your vehicle repaired. If there is a deductible on your policy (most likely there is) you will have to pay your deductible in order to get the repairs done on the vehicle.

The Wrap Up

An auto insurance claim can be complicated, but insurance companies have been working hard to streamline this process as much as they can. The entire process is getting easier for everyone involved from the garage doing the work to the insured (you). It is important to remember that your insurance broker already knows this information and is there for you to lean on in these types of situations. Your broker should not only be able to walk you through the process, but they should also be able to be your advocate to the insurance company if there are any discrepancies between you and the insurance company. If you need a broker who will be there for you in the event of a claim and one who doesn’t work for the insurance company, call us today.