After you have been in a car accident, you may be unsure how to report it, where, and to whom. How a car accident is reported in Ontario depends on a few factors; the severity of the accident, the amount and type of damage, and whether or not there are any injuries. In some cases, you will need to report an accident to the police right away, while in other situations you can report to a Collision Reporting Centre and your insurance company after dealing with the accident scene.
When To Report To The Police
There are a few situations in which reporting a car accident is required and you must call the police immediately; they will come directly to the scene of an accident. These are:
• When anyone has been injured or killed
• When there is damage to private or public property
• When a driver involved appears to be intoxicated
• Bicycles or pedestrians are involved
• A driver is uninsured or unlicensed
In any of these situations you should call emergency services immediately by dialing 911, and await their arrival on the scene before you do anything else. The police will instruct you as to how to proceed.
In an accident that does not meet these requirements, you probably do not need to have the police arrive on the scene, but you do still need to report the accident. Accidents with damage in excess of $2,000 must be reported to the police, but may not require them to come to the scene. In this situation, call your local police department rather than 911. They will direct you as to whether you should file a report at the police department, or visit your local Collision Reporting Centre, if one is available. When in doubt, always call the police department for guidance.
- The limit in Ontario used to be $1,000; however, in the fall of 2015 Ontario upped the limit to $2,000.
Reporting To a Collision Reporting Centre
Some parts of Ontario have Collision Reporting Centres available to drivers 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 on the accident.
If there is a centre near you, you can bring your car in to have the damage photographed and get assistance with filing the police report. These locations exist to make the process of reporting a collision simpler for everyone. Cities with Collision Reporting Centres are:
• North Bay
• North York
• Owen Sound
• Saugeen Shores
• Sault Ste. Marie
• Thunder Bay
Some cities have more than one location, so call for the nearest one.
Reporting a Hit and Run
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 To Your Insurance Company
You are required by the terms of your insurance policy to report any accident you have to your insurance company, whether or not the police are involved. 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 in that manner. Don’t count on anyone else to report an accident on your behalf.
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.