Hopefully, you will never be in a car accident and will not have to worry about how to report one. However, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it’s important to know what to do.
An accident can be very stressful; it may result in harm to you and your vehicle; it may cause property damage, and it may also affect your car insurance premiums. Being involved in an accident can make it hard for you to think clearly. You will probably have several questions, including:
Read more to learn about making the right decisions if you are involved in a car accident.
How do I report a car accident to in Ontario?
When an accident occurs, you will most likely wonder who to call first. This depends on on the severity of the accident. If people are injured or the accident has caused a hazardous situation - call 911 to request an ambulance or other emergency personnel; do not attempt to move the injured person or touch anything hazardous like live wires.
In the case of a minor accident with no injuries, you should call your local police department or report your accident to your local collision reporting centre. For minor accidents, you may also call your broker firs,t before submitting a claim directly to your insurance company. Your broker can review your coverage options, offer you guidance and walk you through the process of filing an insurance claim. They may even direct you to the closest collision reporting centre or arrange a tow to a preferred repair facility.
When am I required to report an accident?
The requirements to report an accident depend on the severity of the accident; the extent of injuries suffered, and the amount of physical damage incurred. In some cases, you may be required to report an accident to the police immediately. In other cases, you may report the accident to your insurance company and to a collision reporting centre once you have taken care of matters at the scene of the accident, and sometimes you do not have to report an accident at all.
1. Reporting to the Police
There are certain situations in which you are required to immediately report an accident to the police. When you do, the police will come directly to the scene. Here are five accident situations that you must report:
- Someone has been killed or injured in a car crash in Ontario
- There is damage to public or private property
- At least one of the drivers appears intoxicated
- The accident involves a cyclist or pedestrian
- At least one of the drivers is unlicensed or uninsured
There is one other situation in which you must report an accident to the police, and that isIif the total amount of damage estimated is more than $2,000. However, depending on the situation, the police may not come out to the scene.
2. Reporting to a Collision Reporting Centre
If none of the above situations apply, you probably do not need to call the police. However, if the damage to both vehicles combined is estimated to be over $2,000 you will still need to report the accident to your insurance broker and to the nearest collision reporting centre.
According to Ontario law, you are required to make a police report about the accident to the nearest collision centre within 24 hours of the accident.
If an accident occurs outside of normal business hours, you should take your car to a reporting centre the following morning. If your car is not drivable, have it towed to a centre. You must use the centre closest to where the accident has occurred. If there is any doubt about which centre to use, contact your broker or the local police department.
A collision reporting centre is a place where Ontario drivers go to report an accident. There are approximately 30 of these centres located in various cities throughout the province. They exist to simplify the act of reporting an accident. One of the purposes of reporting centres is to free up police officers for other duties.
When you visit the collision centre, you will need to bring the following information with you:
- Driver’s license number
- Contact information, including your name, address and phone number
- Car insurance information, including your policy number
- Vehicle information, including the make and model of your vehicle and your license plate number
- Details of the accident
3. Reporting to your Insurance Broker
Depending on the circumstances, you may wonder: “do I really have to report the accident?” As previously mentioned, you should always call your insurance broker first. As a licensed professional, your broker can review your coverage and discuss all of your possible options. If the total damage (all cars involved) of the accident is less than $2,000, you are not required to report the accident or file an insurance claim. However, there may be reasons why this is a good idea, and your broker can guide you with your decision.
Your insurance broker can help you through the entire claim processThey can answer any questions you may have, review your coverage options, and even transfer you directly to an claims adjuster if you decide to file a claim.
In the event of an after-hours emergency situation, most insurance companies have a 24 hour emergency claim service. If needed, you can find your provider’s emergency claim number in our BrokerLink Insurance Centre.
Whenever there is any doubt about the correct way to report an accident, contact your broker for assistance.
What happens if I don’t report an accident?
All car insurance policies in Ontario require you to report any accidents with damage exceeding $2,000 , or any of the situations discussed above. Some people are hesitant to do this because they do not want the accident to count against them on their record. They may also fear that the insurance company will raise their rates because of the accident.
Failure to report an accident may result in your insurance company cancelling your policy or refusing to renew it at the end of its term. Even worse, failure to report an accident as required by law could result in a charge of leaving the scene of an accident. This could result in higher insurance rates, fines or even jail time.
Car accident injuries: what to do if you are injured in a car accident
First, if you are injured in a car accident, then as mentioned above, you must notify the police. We also recommend calling your insurance company after a minor car accident, especially if injuries were sustained. Some of the most common types of bodily harm that may stem from car accidents include sprained or broken bones, brain injuries, soft tissue injuries, chest injuries, shoulder injuries, bruising, scrapes, and cuts, burns, lacerations, scarring, and back and spinal cord trauma.
Whether you identify the bodily injury as major or minor post-accident, try your best to remain calm. Upon impact, pull over to the side of the road if you can. Examine yourself and call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. Once emergency services are on their way, and only if it’s safe to do so, get out of your car to inspect the damage. You can also take this time to check on the other driver involved in the accident, if applicable, to confirm that they are safe. If you find that the other driver is injured, do not remove them from their vehicle.
Once emergency services arrive on the scene, make sure that all injured parties receive medical attention. If you aren’t sure whether you are injured, it’s best to have yourself checked out just in case. Depending on the circumstances of the accident and the extent of the injuries, you might be able to file an insurance claim under the accident benefits coverage portion of your policy to help pay for the cost of medical attention.
Finally, if necessary, you may need to call a tow truck to remove your vehicle from the scene before you can go home. Contact BrokerLink for more information on whether insurance covers for towing in Canada.
What is in a police report?
So you now know that in certain circumstances, you are legally required to report the car accident to the police. You also know How to report a car accident to the police, but what exactly is included in a police report? We outline what police reports typically entail below:
The police report number
All police accident reports are assigned a unique number so that they can be easily referenced.
The date, time, and location of the car accident
The report will include basic details, like the date, time, and location of the accident.
The accident details
The police report will seek to show the extent of the damage, which is why it will contain as many accident details as possible. Details may be written out or included by way of photos. The specific types of details it will feature include the property damage and bodily injuries that arose from the accident.
The police report will clearly state the driver’s licence numbers, insurance company names, insurance policies, and contact information of all drivers involved in the car accident.
The police report will contain a record of all vehicles involved in the accident, including the make, model, and year of the vehicles.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, including passengers or pedestrians, their statements will be added to the police report.
The driver will have a chance to issue a statement about what they believe led to the collision, and this statement will be included in the police report.
Additional information may also be found in the police report. This may include details about the road conditions or weather at the time of the accident if the authorities believe it to be relevant.
Please note that police reports vary depending on the jurisdiction and law enforcement agency. Therefore, information may vary.
Will my insurance rates go up after getting into an accident and filing a police report?
Your Toronto car insurance rates may be impacted after an accident, though it depends on the details of the accident. Namely, it depends on whether you caused the accident or not. While shared liability is possible in Ontario, there will always be one driver who is deemed more at fault than the other. If you are deemed at fault for the accident, then your insurance rates will likely go up the next time your policy is renewed. The only exception to this is if your policy has accident forgiveness coverage, and the accident you got into qualifies for this type of coverage. On the other hand, if you were not responsible for the accident in question, then your rates will likely remain unaffected.
It is also worth noting that whether a police report is filed for the accident has no bearing on your car insurance rates. Thus, if you call the police after an at-fault accident, your rates will be impacted the same way as if you hadn't called the police.
How to lower your car insurance premium following a car accident
Enrol in a professional driving program in your province
Enrolling in a professional driving program near you allows you to learn safe driving tips that will make you a better, more responsible driver. Plus, an insurance company may be willing to offer you a discount if you can show proof that you graduated from a driver’s education or defensive driving program in your province. Discover more ways to cut insurance costs by checking out this article on 5 ways to save on your car insurance.
Add accident forgiveness coverage to your car insurance plan
Adding accident forgiveness to your no-fault insurance plan is an excellent way of saving money if you want to avoid your rates being raised following an at-fault accident. Adding accident forgiveness coverage to your policy can stop an insurance provider from increasing your rates after your first at-fault accident.
Drive less frequently
Finally, reducing how much you drive can also save you money on insurance. If you qualify for low-mileage car insurance, your premium will be significantly reduced. This is because less time on the road means that you are less likely to get into a car accident, which translates to fewer car insurance claims. Learn more about how many car insurance claims per year by contacting BrokerLink.
Get in touch with the experienced insurance brokers from Brokerlink
Road accidents can happen when you least expect them. So, you must take extra precautions when driving or crossing the street and make sure you have the right insurance coverage!
If you’re looking for car insurance, BrokerLink is here to help! Our brokers can answer any questions you have, get you multiple quotes instantly and make sure you have the coverage you need at a great price. Get in touch with us today by phone, online or in person at one of our local branches.
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FAQs about how long you have to report an accident in Ontario
Can I report a car accident after 24 hours in Ontario?
You have 24 hours to report a car accident to the Collision Reporting Center in Ontario. Damages above $2,000 need to be reported immediately as required by the Ontario law.
Do I have to report a minor car accident in Ontario?
Report minor car accidents to the Collision Reporting Center in Ontario. If the accident led to massive damages and deaths, you have to report it to the police.
How long after an accident can you make a claim in Ontario?
According to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario, you must file a claim within seven days.
If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.