Accident Checklist: What to do if you're in a car accident

There is nothing pleasant about being in a car accident and it's important you know what to do and what information to collect to get through the process efficiently.

Learn more about what to do in the event you are in a car accident.

When involved in an accident, all drivers should obtain the following:

  • Name, address and phone number of each driver and each vehicle’s registered owner
  • Driver’s licence number, insurance company and policy number of each driver
  • Licence plate number of each vehicle
  • Name and phone number of any passengers and witnesses
  • Download our accident checklist and keep a copy in your glove box to record all the information you need.

Speak with a BrokerLink broker and get more information about finding auto insurance with the best coverage and value in mind.


What to do if you get into a car accident?

You just got into a car accident. Now what? After any sort of collision, whether major or minor, your knee-jerk reaction might be to panic. Most people don’t know what to do after a car accident, even if they weren’t responsible for it. If you want to learn what to do following an auto accident, BrokerLink can help. The car insurance experts at BrokerLink have put together an accident information checklist so you’ll know exactly what to do if you get into a collision.

Step 1: Stay calm and assess the situation

The moment you realize you’ve hit another car or they’ve hit you, stop your vehicle and take a deep breath. Quickly assess the damage and check if there are any immediate dangers (e.g. a fire or oncoming traffic). Address those first. For example, if a car accident happens in the middle of a highway, try to slowly and safely pull your vehicle over to the side of the road. If you are unable to move your vehicle out of the way, turn your hazard lights on.

If you or anyone else is injured, call 9-1-1 immediately. If you are injured, remain in your vehicle until emergency services arrive. If someone else is injured, encourage them to stay in their cars until the paramedics get there, assuming it is safe to do so.

Step 2: Seek medical attention

If you are injured following a car accident, it’s important to be checked by a medical professional as quickly as possible. Even if you don’t believe the injuries sustained are severe, it’s critical to seek medical attention as sometimes car accident injuries may not present themselves immediately or adrenaline can prevent you from realizing the full extent of the injuries. Once emergency services arrive, they will determine whether you should be transported to a nearby hospital or medical centre.

Step 3: Collect evidence at the scene

Once you have received medical attention and if you are physically able, gather as much information as possible about the accident. Take photos and videos of the scene and the vehicles involved, as well as any traffic signs or lights. We also recommend taking notes on the road and weather conditions. Evidence-gathering is an important step as once tow trucks and cleanup crews arrive, all evidence will be gone. The more evidence you collect, the easier it will be to file a claim and the better chance you may have of winning a claim, should one be brought against you.

Step 4: Exchange information with those involved

Before leaving the scene, you will want to exchange information with anyone else involved in the accident (drivers, pedestrians, etc.). Specifically, you should exchange the following key pieces of information:

  • Full name
  • Home address
  • Phone number
  • License plate number
  • Driver’s licence number
  • Insurance company name
  • Insurance company number

We also recommend obtaining the contact information (names and phone numbers) of any passengers or witnesses to the accident. The experts at BrokerLink warn against admitting fault in front of the other parties or agreeing to handle the situation separately from your insurance companies. Agreeing to pay for any necessary repairs or medical expenses out-of-pocket can lead to trouble down the road.

Step 5: Report the accident to the police & get a police report

If the police haven’t already been called, call them once it is safe to do so. Reporting a car accident to the police is always recommended and may even be mandatory depending on the circumstances of the collision. In Canada, drivers are legally required to report a car accident to the police if the damage to both vehicles exceeds $2,000 in total or if anyone was injured in the accident. It is best to contact the police within 24 hours of the collision.

Step 6: Call your insurance provider or broker

The final step in your car accident checklist is to call your insurance provider and notify them of the incident. Most insurance companies give policyholders seven days from the date of the collision to report it. Depending on the severity of the car accident, you might need to file a claim with your insurer.

If this is the case, we recommend calling your local insurance brokerage, as a broker can inform you about the ways the accident may affect your insurance policy. An experienced insurance broker like those at BrokerLink can also help answer any questions you may have about the claims process, including what type of claim to file.

The type of claim you file depends on the circumstances of the accident, such as who was at fault for the collision and whether the other driver is underinsured or uninsured. Depending on these factors, you may file an accident benefits claim, an uninsured automobile claim, or a liability claim. No matter what type of claim you file, policyholders should be prepared to provide the following information when filing a car insurance claim after an accident:

  • The name of the other driver’s insurance company
  • The other driver’s auto insurance policy number
  • The make, model, year, and registration number of the other driver’s vehicle
  • The date, time, and location of the accident
  • The extent of the damage to the vehicle
  • The names of any passengers in the vehicle at the time of the accident
  • The extent of the injuries (if applicable)
  • The name and driver’s licence number of the other driver
  • The license plate numbers and vehicle identification numbers of the other driver’s vehicle
  • The name and badge number of the investigating police officer, if the accident was reported to local authorities

Contact BrokerLink for a complete auto accident checklist

If you’re a BrokerLink customer with questions about what to do following a car accident, contact us today. Our knowledgeable and friendly insurance advisors are always available to take your call or chat in person.

We can walk you through our auto accident checklist, explain how a car accident can impact your premium, and help you find a car insurance policy with the right coverage.

If you would like to be a BrokerLink customer and gain access to valuable expertise and services, we offer free auto insurance quotes to drivers in Canada. Give us a call, visit us in person, or use our online quote tool to request a complimentary quote today. Please note that all BrokerLink quotes are accurate, competitive, and obligation-free.