I’ve Had a Car Accident! What Do I Do Next?

Find out what to do after you have a car accident in Australia in Savvy's comprehensive guide.

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, updated on February 16th, 2024       

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Car Insurance Banner - Concerned woman looking at her phone after having a car accident

Having a traffic accident is one of the most stressful experiences one can have while driving, so it's important to know what steps to take if you find yourself in that situation. Savvy's helpful guide breaks down what you should do if you're involved in an incident on the road, as well as how your insurance may be able to cover you, so find out more with us today!

What do I do after a car accident?

Stay calm

Focus on what’s happening right now. If you aren’t injured, count your blessings. Thoughts of the distant future or immediate past are not helpful – breathe deeply to tell yourself you aren’t in a panic situation.

Safety first

Turn on your hazard lights. This ensures the safety of those around you. If you can move your car, move it out of the roadway as soon as you can. Once you’re at a stop, turn off the engine and take the key out of the ignition. Exit the vehicle and check yourself thoroughly for injuries.

Check the other party for injuries if you’re in a position to do so. If required, call emergency services on 000. You should call the police if you suspect the influence of alcohol or narcotics were at play.

Take pictures and document the scene

Many car insurance providers now issue smartphone apps to policyholders to take pictures and describe the damage as part of a claim. Even if your insurance company doesn’t offer an app, take pictures noting the environment and location of the crash, including details on traffic, road surface and weather conditions.

Exchange details with all parties

Once you’ve gathered your evidence, you should exchange details with the other parties. Remember to write down their full name, address, phone number and email address, licence number, vehicle registration number and the make, model and colour of their vehicle and their insurance company.

Determine whether there are any witnesses

Have a look to see if there are any witnesses to the accident. If there are, be sure to take down their contact information, as they can be crucial in helping your insurance provider determine fault (if the other party doesn’t admit to it).

Check if your car is roadworthy

If you can drive your home or to your insurer’s assessment centre safely, do so. If not, call for a tow truck to assist you.

Contact your insurer

It’s important to contact your insurer as soon as possible so the details of the accident are still fresh in your memory. This will involve providing them with the information you’ve gathered from the other parties, photos taken and other witness contact information.

Can I still be covered if I’m the at-fault driver in a car accident?

Depending on the type of insurance coverage you currently hold, you may be covered as the at-fault driver. Comprehensive car insurance policies include coverage for damage caused to your vehicle in certain at-fault incidents, such as covered collisions, as well as damage to the other party’s vehicle.

However, if you hold a third party car insurance policy, such as third party fire and theft or third party property damage cover, you can only be covered for damage caused to other vehicles or property, rather than your own.

If you’re the at-fault driver and don’t have any insurance coverage, you’ll have to pay the full expenses out of pocket. On the other hand, if you’re covered but not at fault and the other driver doesn’t have insurance, many companies will offer cover for damage to your vehicle if you’re able to identify the at-fault driver.

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Savvy’s comparison service includes selected products from a panel of trusted insurers and does not compare all products in the market. Any advice presented above or on other pages is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an insurance policy. We always recommend readers to consult the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of different policies before purchasing your car insurance.

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