Many of us have been involved in a car accident and felt less than prepared for what followed. While FSCO, the regulatory body that oversees all of Ontario’s auto insurance, provides a ton of information about handling claims, we’ve taken the liberty at Begin Insurance of highlighting the key points on what to do after an auto accident.
Always Be Prepared
Being prepared for the unexpected is half the battle. Here is what you can do to prepare:
- Keep a basic first-aid and roadside-emergency kit in your car. Make sure it includes bandages, disinfectant, bottled water for rinsing, tape, flares, warning triangles, a compact fire extinguisher, a flashlight and extra batteries, and a thermal blanket;
- Have your vehicle registration, driver’s permit and proof of insurance always on hand;
- Keep a paper copy of an accident worksheet. Refer to FSCO for a template;
- Read your Ontario Automobile Policy (OAP 1) to review your insurance coverage, your rights and your responsibilities under the contract. Adjust your coverage as needed.
Right After the Accident
Your priority is to make sure everyone is safe and in no danger of further harm. Here’s what you need to do in the minutes following an incident:
- Stop your vehicle: if you don’t, you can be subject to criminal prosecution;
- Remain calm and do not argue with the other driver;
- Call 911 if anyone is injured, if damages exceed $1,000 or if you suspect the other driver was impaired. Otherwise, call the local police. If they fail to show, contact a Collision Reporting Centre in the next 24 hours;
- Take pictures of the scene with your camera phone;
- Secure the scene of the accident: leave the vehicles and move them if it is safe to do so, warn other drivers (hazards, flares, cones and warning triangles), and make sure everyone is clear of oncoming traffic. Do not move anyone who is injured;
- Collect information on the other drivers/cars: the registered owner’s auto insurance policy, the make, model, and year of the vehicle, registration and licence plate numbers and the driver's name and licence number;
- Get the name and badge number of the police officer, if one shows up at the scene;
- Ask witnesses for their contact info and testimonials. Use your phone to record audio;
- Write down a description of the accident, including the date, time and location, the extent of any injuries, the number of passengers involved, the extent of damage to the vehicle and any other relevant info using the accident worksheet provided;
- Arrange to have your vehicle towed, if required.
In the Hours Following the Incident
The sooner you get the ball rolling with the claims process, the faster your claim will be resolved.
Here’s what you need to do when you finally get home:
- Report the accident to your broker or insurance company, as stated on your insurance policy, within seven days, regardless of who is at fault;
- Have all documents and photos on hand to answer accurately any questions related to the accident;
- Contact a Collision Reporting Centre if a collision occurred and no police was dispatched to the scene.
Once the Claim Has Been Filed
A claims adjuster assigned to your file will then contact you by phone or request a meeting in person. You may also have to complete a Proof of Loss form to support your claim. At this point, the claims adjuster will evaluate what part of the claim is covered by your policy and to what extent, and answer any question you may have about your claim or your coverage. You can rest easy knowing you did everything in your power to make this process smoother.
If you require assistance during any stage of the process, Begin Insurance is here to help. You can call us at 1 (844) 774-6340 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.