The what, why, how, where, and when (and then some) of Collision Reporting Centres.
Minor accidents, where there are no injuries, often don’t require that the police come to the scene. Instead, after you call the police, they may tell you to take your vehicle to the nearest Collision Reporting Centre.
What is a Collision Reporting Centre?
A Collision Reporting Centre (CRC) is a police facility where drivers can go to report minor traffic accidents and collisions. Found primarily in Ontario’s bigger cities and towns, CRC's are staffed by police officers and other highly trained, knowledgeable professionals who will help you navigate the accident reporting process: filing a report, documenting the damage and even helping you initiate the insurance claims process.
Why does Ontario have Collision Reporting Centres?
In Ontario, you must report an accident to the police "forthwith" if there are injuries, or if it looks like the damages will exceed $2,000—that’s a grand total, for all drivers involved. Collision Reporting Centres help with the latter, meaning that police can focus on the real emergencies.
- The limit in Ontario used to be $1,000; however, in the fall of 2015 Ontario upped the limit to $2,000.
Starting out as a pilot project with the Toronto Police Service and just six insurance companies back in 1994, Collision Reporting Centres can now be found in many Ontario communities, and is funded by the participating insurance companies—no longer just six companies, now almost 90.
How do I know if I should go to a Collision Reporting Centre?
Call the police. They’ll decide whether or not you should go to the Collision Reporting Centre, or if a police officer should be dispatched to the scene. If a police officer is being sent, do not leave.
Under what circumstances, might the police tell me to go to a Collision Reporting Centre?
CRC’s are set up to help file reports for accidents where there is property damage only, and where it is estimated that the total cost of damage is more than $2,000.
What do I need to do before heading off to a Collision Reporting Centre?
Before going to the Collision Reporting Centre:
- Call police. Tell them what’s happened and let them decide whether or not they’re needed on the scene. If it’s decided they’re not needed, then they’ll be able to tell you where the closet Centre is located.
- Exchange information. Get the name, address, phone number, driver’s licence number, vehicle details (year, make, model and licence plate), insurance company name and policy of all drivers involved. Plus, get the name and contact details of witnesses. Finally, before you forget, jot down the date, time, location and description of what happened.
- If your car is driveable, head over to the closest centre; you have 24 hours to report an accident. If your car needs to be towed, then it must be taken directly to the Centre from the scene of the accident.
- Bring your driver’s licence, registration and insurance documentation
Do I have to pay for it?
No. The services offered at the Collision Reporting Centres are free: they’ll help you complete and file the report, document the damage, initiate contact with your insurer and even provide guidance on next steps, if needed.
What happens when I arrive at the Collision Reporting Centre?
Many drivers are shaken up after a traffic accident, and staff at the Centre can help make the process as simple and headache-free as possible. When you arrive at the CRC, the staff on hand will document and photograph damage, apply damage stickers, help you with the accident report, and facilitate contact with the respective insurance companies.
Can I go to any Collision Reporting Centre?
No, accidents need to be reported as soon as possible to police local to the area of the accident. For example, if you live in Toronto but get in an accident in Hamilton, you must report the incident to the police in Hamilton and not Toronto. If you don’t know where the closest reporting centre is located, ask the police during your initial call to them.
Where can I find Collision Reporting Centres?
There are almost 30 Collision Reporting Centres in Ontario. For a complete list, visit Accident Support Services International Ltd; the company who operates Ontario’s Collision Reporting Centres.