Your Car Crash Checklist

A person filling out a form on a clipboard next to a dented car bumper


Regardless of whether it's a fender-bender or a write-off, you must cover all your bases when you have a car accident. Keep on top of things with this handy checklist.


A minor car crash needn't become a major train smash. By knowing exactly what information you need and when, and how to report the accident, you'll save yourself additional stress when it comes to claiming from insurance.


Assuming you're not seriously injured, once you've recovered from the shock of the accident, it's time to obtain all the information you need by following these steps:


1. Stop and stay. Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offence. No matter how minor the crash may seem, you need to stop, put on your hazard lights and get out of the car when it's safe to do so.

2. Assess everyone for injuries. First ensure you and your passengers are okay, then check on the driver and passengers in the other vehicle. If there are injuries, phone an ambulance immediately. Do not administer first aid unless you are qualified to do so and don't move anyone unless there is an immediate hazard.

3. In the case of injuries, call the police. If someone has died or has serious injuries or if there is damage to surrounding property, you must call the police.

4. Take photos of all impacted vehicles. Before any vehicles are moved, take photos of each car involved in the accident, as well as the overall scene. Ensure you get photos of the licence plates of all other vehicles.

5. Clear the road. Once the police allow you to do so – if they're on the scene – ensure any cars that are obstructing traffic are moved, if possible.

6. Exchange details with other drivers. Get as much information from them as possible. You will need their:

  • Full name
  • ID number
  • Contact numbers
  • Address
  • Insurance company information
  • Car registration number
  • Vehicle make, model and colour
  • Information on any injuries.

7. Get the details of any eyewitnesses. Hopefully you won't need them, but be sure to get their names and contact details in case you do.

8. Note down all accident details. Take multiple photos of the scene and write down when, where, and how the accident occurred – all required information when completing your insurance claim. Take note of your immediate surroundings, including the:

  • weather
  • road condition
  • potholes
  • broken traffic lights
  • the exact address at which the accident occurred
  • the names of the roads that make up the nearest intersection

9. Choose your tow truck. While multiple tow trucks usually rush to an accident scene, you as the motorist have the right to choose who will assist you. If your vehicle is insured, contact your insurer to find out what procedure to follow and whether you're covered for towing charges.

10. Report the accident to the police. If the police are not at the scene or fail to take your details, you need to report the accident to the police station nearest to where the accident happened within 24 hours of its occurrence. Ensure that you get an Accident Report (AR) or Case Number, as this is required for any insurance or third-party claim. No case number, no pay-out.

11. Notify your Car Insurance company. Report all the details of the accident to your Car Insurance company as soon as possible. Do not withhold any information, as this may impact your pay-out. You are liable for excess costs if you are at fault. If the other party is insured and caused the accident, you can claim excess against their insurance.


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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.

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