After an Accident: How to Start the Car Insurance Claims Process

After an Accident: How to Start the Car Insurance Claims Process

There’s no such thing as a “minor” car accident, and there’s no doubt that being involved in an accident is a very stressful experience. It’s also something that most drivers will experience at some point in life, and a bit of prior knowledge goes a long way in navigating the tense moments after a crash.

The first priority after an accident is always safety. Once you’ve confirmed you and everyone else’s well-being, it’s vitally important to gather the information you’ll need to make a car insurance claim. 

Safety First: Steps to Take Immediately after a Car Accident

Immediately after an accident, the first step is to check whether you or any of your passengers have been injured. If anyone has been injured, call 911 for assistance from emergency services.

  • After an accident, shut off the ignition as soon as possible and turn on your hazard lights to alert oncoming traffic to the danger ahead. If you’re in a rural or rarely travelled area, use the flares from your vehicle emergency kit for extra visibility.
  • Accidents are more likely to happen in high-traffic areas, and on busy roads one accident can easily lead to another. Move your vehicle away from traffic to the side of the road once it is safe to do so.
  • Winter weather adds an extra dose of danger to driving, so be sure to exercise extra caution in snowy or icy conditions after an accident.

How to Gather Information and Begin Preparing Your Claim after a Car Accident

Alberta law requires that police be contacted after accidents resulting in $2,000 worth of damage or more. Call the non-emergency line, rather than dialing 911, if no one has been hurt. Once the immediate danger has passed, you can begin the process of gathering information.

Reporting an accident is required by law even when damage is less than $2,000 when they involve: property damage, municipal vehicles or hazardous materials, pedestrians or cyclists, or suspected driving under the influence.

  • Reporting an accident is also important for insurance purposes, because it creates a record of what happened. You can also help create a record by taking photos and making notes on what led to the accident.
  • No matter who was at fault for the accident, it’s critical to obtain the other driver’s insurance information following an accident. Wait until everyone is safe before exchanging information.
  • Your insurance company will, of course, want to know about the accident as soon as possible. This will get the ball rolling on your claim, and give you a chance to ask any questions about what you need to do next.
  • Your insurance broker can be a huge help after a car accident, too! If you have any questions about the claims process, how to deal with insurance companies, or what to do next, make a call to your broker once you’re able.

Bow Valley Insurance of Calgary Covers Alberta

Car accidents can happen to anyone, even the safest, most conscientious drivers, so it’s important for all drivers to understand what to do following an accident. It’s also a good idea to consider accident forgiveness for your car insurance so your rates won’t go up after an accident.

Bow Valley Insurance is here to help with all of your car insurance needs in Calgary and throughout Alberta. Learn more about our car insurance services, or start shopping with a free auto insurance quote today!