Lifestyle Guides

What you need to do after a car accident

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Road accidents are very stressful and, unfortunately, common. The UK reported over 101,000 accidents in 2021[1] - around 277 per day.

Regardless of the severity, many of us forget what we should do. So, if you’re involved in a road accident, here are the steps you need to take.

What to do after a road accident

Here are the immediate steps to take after an accident.

  1. stop your vehicle safely – if your car is blocking the road, try and move it to the side and away from any oncoming traffic
  2. turn off your engine – switch on your hazard lights to inform other road users of obstruction
  3. get out of your car – stand somewhere safe and away from oncoming traffic
  4. check everyone involved is okay – call an ambulance (999) if anyone needs urgent medical attention
  5. don’t admit fault or apologise for the accident – statements can act as evidence against you in the investigation
  6. exchange information with everyone – once you’re in a safe place speak to the other driver involved, any passengers and witnesses
  7. take a photo or video evidence – you need evidence of the damage to all cars involved, any property that was damaged and the entire scene, including road markings and signs
  8. call your insurer – even if the accident is minor and you don’t intend to claim, you need to inform your insurer or risk invalidating your insurance policy

If you hit a parked vehicle and can’t leave your details on the windscreen, call 101 (non-emergency policy number) to report the incident. If you don’t and someone else reports you to the police, you may be charged with failing to stop after an accident.

Information to exchange after an accident

  • vehicle(s) information – registration number, make, model and colour
  • driver and witness information – full name, address and phone number
  • insurance details of the driver(s) involved – policy number and insurer. If any driver doesn’t have insurance, you must tell the police as it’s illegal in the UK
  • registered owner details – if the driver isn’t the registered owner of the vehicle, you need the name, address and phone number of the owner
  • accident information – note the time, date and location of the accident
  • other passenger information – details of other passengers in the vehicle

Who to inform about the road accident

Police

You must report all road accidents to the police within 24 hours. If you don’t, you could be:

  • fined
  • given points on your licence
  • disqualified from driving

You can call 101 to report the accident or complete an online form. You can find out which police force you need to contact on Police.uk.

Your insurance provider

Contact your insurer from the scene of the accident if possible. If you can’t, you must contact your insurer within a ‘reasonable’ time limit.

Insurer time limits vary, so check your policy book for information. It’s usually within 48 hours of the accident, even if you aren’t planning to make a claim and if you wait for longer, you risk invalidating your claim.

If you need your vehicle repaired, check with your insurer if you need to use an approved garage. If the garage is fixing your car, you may be entitled to a courtesy vehicle, depending on your cover level.

If you’re an Admiral Insurance customer

If the accident happens outside our opening hours, and your vehicle isn't driveable, call the 24-hour Accident Recovery Helpline. Our team will collect and store your car until we've completed our damage assessment.

You can find our opening times and emergency contact numbers on our claims page

Don’t worry about having your policy number to hand. We can access your policy details with your registration number.

Making an insurance claim after a road accident

Insurers will ask for the information you collected at the accident if you make a claim.

Once your insurer has assessed your information, they may ask for more evidence. It may take a while as deciding liability is complex.

If you have Admiral Insurance, read our car or van insurance claim guide.

Read more about what happens if someone claims against your car insurance.

Great car insurance options for the whole family

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