Getting into a motor vehicle accident, even a minor one like a fender bender, can be a jarring experience that can leave many people unsure of what to do after the accident has occurred.
After calling a friend or loved one, people will often times call their insurance company right from the accident scene because they simply do not know the correct steps to take immediately after the accident.
What to do immediately after a fender bender
In Ontario, if there are no injuries, if the combined damage to both vehicles does not exceed $2,000.00, and there is no damage to any surrounding property, a car accident does not need to be reported to police and is considered a minor accident or fender bender.
After a fender bender, if your car is okay to safely operate, the first thing you should do is take your vehicle and yourself to a safe area along the side of the road and away from oncoming traffic. This is to avoid blocking traffic and more importantly, potentially causing another accident where someone may hit you or your vehicle.
Next, take a picture of the damage and the licence plate of the other vehicle so you have basic evidence from the scene. Both drivers should then exchange information including driver’s license number, driver’s name and contact information, the name of their insurance company and insurance policy number.
Report the accident at your local Collision Reporting Centre
While it is unnecessary to report your fender bender to the police, you need to report the accident at your local collision reporting centre within 24 hours in the city the accident occurred.
If your feel confident that your vehicle is safe to operate, and it is within business hours, you should then drive to the nearest collision reporting centre. However, if you feel too shaken up to drive, please call a friend or loved one pick you up and call a tow truck company to have your vehicle towed to the centre.
Once your report is completed, you have the option of taking your vehicle home, you can have your tow truck driver take you and your vehicle to an auto repair shop or wherever you’d prefer to go.
Contact your insurance company
It is imperative that you let your insurance company know about the accident, however minor, to avoid complications with your insurance claim. Your claims service agent will be able to go over what your policy covers for example, car rental, towing fees and car repairs, and help you open up your claim. For minor accidents many insurance companies provide the option of processing your claim online, but if you want an overview of your policy or have any questions, it is best to talk to an insurance agent.
It is also important to let your insurance company know about the accident for your own protection against potential lawsuits later on. For example, let’s say you don’t report the accident but the other party does and they decide to sue a year later. If there is no accurate record on file of the accident with your insurance company, they will be unable to represent you if a lawsuit is brought forth.
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