According to the latest government statistics, road casualties have risen in the last year but fortunately not all accidents mean someone is hurt. So what do you do when you have a prang with another vehicle and the only damage is to your car? Is it necessary to call the Police? What information do you need to gather for an insurance claim? Smartdriverclub, the connected car and insurance service offers its top tips.
Make sure to stop: No matter how minor the accident. If you don’t stop or report the incident at a police station within 24 hours, it is classed as an offence under the Road Safety Act, and could result in points, a fine or even a custodial sentence. If another person is injured you must show your insurance certificate to the police at the scene or at a police station within seven days. If anyone else involved in the crash fails to stop make note of their registration plate and call the police immediately.
Make the call: Look around and check if you need to call for emergency services of any kind - Police, Ambulance or Fire Brigade. If your accident means the road is blocked, you should definitely call the police.
What not to say: Try to refrain from saying ‘Sorry’ or apologising in any way. By doing so, could be seen as an admission of guilt later down the line and be used against you.
Get the details: Once everyone involved in the accident is in a safe place, swap details. Get the driver’s name, address, car registration, insurance details and establish if they are the registered keeper of the vehicle, if not then you will need the owner’s information too.
Make a note: While it’s fresh in your memory, note down the time and location of the crash, make and model of any cars involved, passenger details, weather conditions, traffic conditions, road markings and the events of the crash. At the scene take pictures and/or draw sketches of the vehicles, the damage and road conditions.
Time is ticking: Call your insurer as soon as possible after a crash as most companies have time limits in their policies. It is also worth noting that you should always inform your car insurer of an accident even if you don’t wish to make a claim.
Take the call: If you have a telematics policy your insurer should contact you before you contact them. They will have registered the collision and will want to check you are OK and offer help at the scene. They will also collect the details to progress an insurance claim. The key difference with a telematics policy is that the insurer will be able to see the exact circumstances of the accident which will speed up the claims process.
Penny Searles, Smartdriverclub CEO, commented: “It can be difficult to think straight when you’ve just had a prang with another car. Even if no-one’s hurt it’s still quite a shock and emotions can run high. Given the latest road casualty statistics, the fact that there are more cars on the road than ever before and winter weather on the way, it makes sense to be prepared.
“Keeping a cool head and ensuring as much information is gathered about the circumstances and the other driver is vital. This is where a telematics policy can really help as we will know where and when the accident happened and the force of the crash. With this knowledge we can be proactive in supporting our customer at the scene, calling them and, if necessary contacting emergency services. This proactive approach is also helpful in crash for cash scams, with the data showing us that the collision was contrived, providing proof of innocence for our customer.
“The fact is, a simple piece of tech can take the pain from an insurance claim so it’s worth getting connected for some peace of mind as we head into winter.”
Smartdriverclub works through a match-box shaped Smartplug which, slots in under the dashboard. Once connected, it feeds data from the car to Smartdriverclub’s smartphone app ‘Viewpoint’ so that the driver can see any emerging mechanical issues, exactly where the car is located, fuel use, trips and mileage incurred for business or personal use and when the MOT and tax are due.
Smartdriverclub will also detect if the customer has been in an accident, contacting emergency services if they can’t be reached and can track the location of the vehicle if it’s been stolen, to support police recovery. Customers also have the option of insurance at up to 42% less than a traditional policy if they drive well.