What to Do if You Have a Car Accident

If you're involved in a car accident following these steps can help you stay safe and have as straightforward a claims experience as possible:

Immediate Steps

  1. By law you MUST stop if you have been involved in a road traffic accident. By leaving the scene you are committing an offence under the Road Traffic Act
  2. Switch off your engine and turn on your hazard lights to ensure that other drivers see you
  3. Make sure that everyone in your car is safe and there are no injuries. If safe to do so, check that occupants of other vehicles involved in the accident are not injured 
  4. If anyone is injured call 999 or 112 on mobiles (999 is also acceptable)
  5. In the case of a more serious accident, or where vehicles are obstructing the highway, ask for the police to attend the scene.

Useful information to collect at the scene of a car accident

  1. Do not admit liability for an accident and do not sign anything admitting liability, as this could be held against you later on, either with an insurance claim or in court
  2. Exchange details with the other driver(s), this includes:
    1. Name (of the driver and the insurance policy-holder, if they are different) 
    2. Address of the driver (and the registered keeper, if different)
    3. Registration number, make and model of all other vehicle(s) involved and details of their insurance companies
    4. It can also be a good idea to ask for proof of identification if you have any suspicions
    5. Call 999 straight away if anyone leaves the scene of the accident without leaving their details
    6. Make a note of the date, time and weather conditions when the accident happened
    7. If possible, make a brief sketch of the scene, showing the positions of the vehicles involved, or take photos
    8. Note down the extent of the damage to other vehicles, plus any obvious injuries to drivers or passengers at the time
    9. Record any other relevant information such as the use of headlights/indicators by the other driver

If there are independent witnesses at the scene of an accident (not passengers in any of the vehicles involved), ask for their names, addresses and telephone numbers.

What to do if no other drivers are involved

If you hit a parked car or an item of property such as a wall or garden fence, you should still stop. In the case of parked cars, if the driver is absent, leave a note on their windscreen with your contact and insurance details. For other types of property, try to locate the property owner and leave your details.

Notifying your insurer

Even if you decide not to make a claim on your insurance, or if you only have third party cover, you should still inform your insurance company of the accident as soon as you can. If another driver makes a claim against you, it's important for your insurer to be aware of all the circumstances.

Next steps:

Making an insurance claim after a car accident

How Third Party insurance works after a car accident