10 Things You Need to do After a Car Accident
Have you ever been in a car accident? Roadside collisions are a common occurrence in Malaysia, especially in the more crowded areas, such as Klang Valley. In 2016, Malaysia recorded a total of 521,466 car accidents, which was an increase from the year before when the total amount of car accidents stood at 489,606. The accident rate in Malaysia is rising and this is concerning.
With the accident rate rising, the chance you might end up in an accident yourself is rising as well. Do you know what to do when you’ve been in a car accident? To help you out, we have listed a quick action guide, so you can get on with your day as soon as possible!
Ensure your safety
You have just been in an accident. The first thing to do is check for immediate danger. If you’ve been in a heavy crash your car might be in a bad condition. If for any reason, you suspect that it is no longer safe to remain in your car, you should get out immediately.
If you feel that you are safe, make sure to check yourself for any physical injuries. Be sure to check your head and neck very thoroughly, because whiplash is a very common injury in car accidents. Because of the shock, you might also not notice pain at first, so be sure to check yourself carefully.
If you are injured, you should seek medical attention before doing anything else. Make sure to obtain a medical report with copies that you can use for future claims.
Move your vehicle to a safer place
If you are safe and you feel fine, it is time to start dealing with the accident. If your vehicle can still move safely, it is advisable to move it to the side of the road or another safe place. This frees up the road for other drivers and allows you to get out of your car safely. However, before doing this, it is advisable to quickly snap a few pictures of the initial collision situation for your insurance claim.
Step out of the vehicle and observe the situation
Get out of the vehicle and start assessing the damages to your car and to the other driver’s car. Take pictures of everything and from every angle. If you plan to claim insurance, you will want as much evidence as possible before you file your claim.
Stay calm and don’t panic
It is important that you stay calm and don’t panic. During car accidents emotions tend to flare and it’s easy to throw accusations back and forth, but that is not the right approach. Think practical, for you to minimize your loss from this accident, you will need as much evidence and information as possible. You are more likely to obtain said information if you behave in a calm and composed manner.
Take pictures and exchange information
This part is very important so don’t skip it. In order to validate a possible insurance claim, you will need evidence that backs up your claim. The other driver might file a claim that disputes your claim, for example, if you disagree over who was at fault during the accident.
To make your claim stronger you can take pictures of the damages to both cars, and the situation on the road. Take pictures of anything that might be relevant. While you’re at it, take a picture of the other driver and his license plate as well, just in case he wants to deny everything.
After your photo shoot, it is time to exchange information. If you don’t want to settle this in a direct settlement you are going to need the drivers’ information for your insurance claim.
You will need the registration number of his vehicle, the make and model and the color. From the driver, you will need his name, address, IC number and driving license number and don’t forget his telephone number, just in case your insurance company wants to contact him. You might also need the contact information of his insurance company, just in case you want to make a claim against his insurance policy.
Lastly, it is smart to reach out to other people who might have witnessed the accident. If their account supports your version of the story, you can record their information and statements as supporting evidence.
Come to an agreement on the settlement
If you both agree, you can choose to handle the situation with a direct settlement. That means you both agree on who was at fault and how much the damage is. This can be tricky because the other driver or you might make an incorrect estimation of the repair costs involved. A direct settlement is therefore only a good option for minor damages. If your car is completely shredded, you are better off making an insurance claim.
Make a police report
Make sure that you file a police report within 24 hours of the accident. This is very important because the police report is a mandatory part of your insurance claim. Be sure to ask for a certified copy, as you might need it later during your insurance claim.
Decide if you want to claim insurance
Regardless of if you want to claim your insurance, you should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. It is smart to record the accident hotline of your insurance company on your phone. It is advisable to call them as early as possible to let them know what happened. Your insurance company can also arrange a tow truck for you, should you need one.
Deciding to claim insurance means you have to let go of your No Claim Discount (NCD), which is an important decision. The NCD can be as high as 55% in Malaysia, which means that you could actually be worse off by claiming insurance if the claim amount is too low.
Another thing to consider is the excess clause. This is basically a clause in your insurance contract that prohibits you from claiming damages below a certain threshold. If you have an excess clause in your policy, your claim must be above the excess clause. Then, the insurance company will pay the difference between your claim and the excess amount.
Get your car fixed
If your car is pretty torn up, you can have a tow truck take your car to a panel shop for reparation. Before engaging a tow truck or a panel shop, consult with your insurance company. It could be that they have a preferred provider, which could make things easier when you want to claim insurance.
Get on with your day
If you have followed the steps in this guide, you should be in a comfortable position considering the situation. Let’s quickly summarize; to file your insurance claim without any problems you will need the following:
- The personal particulars of the drivers involved in the road accident: names, IC numbers, addresses, driving license numbers and contact details.
- The names of the insurers of the other vehicles.
- Make/models and registration numbers of the other vehicles in the roadside accident.
- Registration numbers of tow trucks (if applicable)
- Photos of the accident and the damages, notes of the extent of the damages
- Be sure to file a police report and inform your insurer within 24 hours of the accident.
Be sure to carefully read your insurance policy to check for any particular details regarding claiming insurance, as individual insurers might use different methods. Good luck!
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