After being involved in a car accident, it’s normal to be in shock. However, it’s important to stay calm and report the collision correctly. Knowing what to do after an accident in Ontario depends on a few factors: the severity of the accident, the amount and type of damage, and whether 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 scene of the accident.
When to report an accident to the police
There are a few situations in which reporting a car accident to the police is required 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
In any of these situations you should call emergency services immediately by dialing 911. It’s also crucial to await their arrival before moving anything or anyone from the scene. The police will tell you how to proceed.
When to report an accident to a collision reporting centre
Accidents that don’t meet the above criteria likely won’t require police on the scene. However, you do still need 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 cities 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. Though a claim may later impact your premium, comparing car insurance rates in Ontario can ensure you still have the lowest rate available to you.
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.
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