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When and how to report a car accident

If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know what a chaotic and overwhelming situation the aftermath can be. Either way, as traumatic as an accident can be, it’s important you do all you can to remain calm and handle the situation correctly.

Here in Ontario, what to do immediately following a collision depends on the severity of the accident, the amount and type of damage, and whether there are any injuries. Sometimes, the need to report an accident to the police right away is completely obvious, while in other situations you can report to a collision reporting centre and your insurance company after dealing with the scene of the accident.

When to report an accident to the police

Certain situations require reporting a car accident to the police immediately so that they come directly to the scene of the collision. Be sure to call the police if:

  • Anyone has been injured or killed
  • The damage to all vehicles involved appears to exceed $2,000
  • Any driver involved appears to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs

Check any single item on the list above and you should call emergency services immediately by dialing 911. It’s also best to wait for first responders to arrive on scene before moving anything or anyone from the area. The police will tell you how to proceed.

When to report an accident to a collision reporting centre

Lesser accidents that don’t meet the above criteria probably don’t require police to respond. But you still have to report the accident to a collision reporting centre instead of the police within 24 hours if:

  • No one was injured in the accident
  • The damage to all vehicles appears to be under $2,000

This will involve completing a police report and photographing the damage to your vehicle for your insurance company.

Some municipalities in Ontario have collision reporting centres available to help with the process of reporting an accident. You can call your local police department to find out where the closest collision reporting centre is. If there is no location near you, you may be instructed to go to your local police department and file a report.

If there is a centre near you, you can bring your car in to have the damage photographed and receive assistance with filing the police report. These locations exist to make the process of reporting a collision simpler for everyone.

Reporting a hit-and-run collision

If you are involved in a hit and run and the driver is still in the area of the accident, call the police to report it. In situations where the hit and run occurs when you are not present, such as when your car has been parked, you can make the report at a collision reporting centre.

Reporting a collision to your insurance company

You are required to report any accident you have to your insurance company, whether the police are involved or not. You should call your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident to make the report.

Police and collision reporting centres do not report accidents to insurance companies, but the accident may show up on your driving record and come to the attention of your insurance company, so it’s best to be honest and report it directly.

You can report an accident to your insurance company by calling your agent or broker, or by calling an accident reporting hotline that may be available, depending on your insurance company. Your insurance card should list all of the pertinent information on how to report an accident. In some cases, it can be done online.

Your insurance company will require you to give a statement regarding the accident, and an adjuster will be assigned to handle the processing of your claim. Though making a claim can sometimes result in you having to pay your deductible, ensuring a legitimate repair means getting back out on the road safely.


Source: Insurance Hotline


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