A friend of the Stella team was in an accident a couple of weeks ago, it was a three-car pileup, everyone was safe, but she said the thing that stood out was that everyone involved was unsure what to do next; which got us thinking… Has anyone given us the run-down of who to call? Where do our damaged cars go? How do we get them there? What if the other driver says it’s our fault? We had so many questions, but none of the answers. So, we thought, let’s chat about the to-do list should you find yourself in an accident. There are a huge number of variants to the below but this overview should at least give you some confidence in knowing what’s what should the time come.
First things first.
Are you OK? Are the passengers of your vehicle OK?
When to call 000
• If someone is hurt
• If the other driver seems impaired by drugs or alcohol
• If the other party doesn’t stop or refuses to give you their details
• If there is danger or damage
The next step is to (if safe to do so) get your car to a safe place.
Put your hazards on and if there are dangerous items on the road which could be hazardous to other cars remove them from the road.
Now you and your car are safe it’s time to exchange details with the other party, both parties will need to provide the following
• Time, date, and location of the accident.
• The other drivers’ details (name, phone number, address, insurer, registration number, vehicle colour/make/model).
• If the driver is not the owner of the car, you’ll also need the name, address, and phone number of the owner.
• If possible, the name and contact details of a witness/witness(es)
• If the police have attended, make sure you get the name of the police officer, their station, and their contact details.
• Don’t forget to take photos with your smartphone of the damage caused by the accident, you may need these in the future.
There are a lot of details to remember so we advise having a checklist in your glove box so you don’t miss any important information.
Contact your insurer, especially before you get your car towed.
Depending on your policy they may be able to organise a tow for you or tell you what to expect. If you are insured with Stella, we’ll arrange for the car to be towed for assessment, click here to read the full terms.
We also recommend you don’t admit the accident was your fault until professionals have assessed it.
If you need your car towed you should
• Never sign a blank or incomplete towing authority form. Make sure you know the address of where the car is being towed too and the fee. Some tow companies will push for you to send it to their repairer, make sure you read the fine print on the forms, and don’t agree to this until you have spoken to your insurance company.
• Take a deep breath and take your time before you make any decisions if you’re still unsure have the car towed to your home. You might have to pay for two (home and to the repairer) though that decision when your head is clearer could save you a lot of cash.
Also, worth noting;
• You can contact anyone you want before signing the authorisation form.
• You can decide who tows your vehicle and to where.
• Make sure the tow truck driver has an accredited driver certificate.
• Towing companies aren’t allowed to offer any services other than towing.
• Touting for repairs and kickbacks like spotter’s fees are illegal.
The final step after an accident is to claim with your insurance company. If your vehicle was towed to a panel beater approved by your insurer, repairs will usually be authorised fairly quickly.
On the other hand, if your vehicle is driveable after the accident and only needs minor repairs, your insurer may require you to obtain at least two quotes (sometimes three) from different panel shops, from which they will choose the lowest quote.
Whether you choose to claim at all will depend on the cost of repairs compared to any excess you must pay (the amount you must contribute to a claim) and the effect a claim would have on your no-claim bonus. Many people choose not to make a claim on repairs under $1,000 for these reasons.
We know accidents are super stressful but hopefully, this will provide you with the steps and no how to ensure the process is as seamless as it can be. Remember we can be contacted at any time and we’re here to help ease the burden.
Safe (and happy driving)
Any advice provided is general advice and does not take your personal circumstances into consideration. Please read the Stella product disclosure statement (PDS) available at stellainsurance.com.au for the terms, conditions, and exclusions before purchasing this insurance. Stella Underwriting (ABN 72 633 811 319) is an Authorised Representative (AR 001282046) of Allstate Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 82 073 267 053, AFSL 239010) which is acting (under its own AFSL) on behalf of the product issuer, QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited (ABN 78 003 191 035, AFSL 239545).