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What to do if you’ve been in a car accident

Earlier this month, Blink by MiWay detailed what it will be focusing on following a recent rebrand, and now the insurtech company is offering up some advice for local motorists on what to do when they’re in a car accident.

With the protocol for an accident fairly cut and dry in terms of what to do if someone is injured or harmed, what about the administrative elements, especially when it comes to ensuring the rights steps are taken for your respective insurance company?

This is where Keletso Mpisane, head of Blink By MiWay, shares some wise words.

“Car accidents are scary and overwhelming ordeals. Unfortunately, they can happen at any place and time. This makes it important for drivers to equip themselves with the knowledge to cope when in a crash. It’s difficult to focus while the shock and injuries of an accident are fresh. This is why it’s crucial to know what to do, who to contact, and what steps must be taken after a crash,” Mpisane explains.

These are the four steps that Blink by MiWay highlights.

Step 1 – Know who to call

  • Turn the car off and make sure those in your vehicle are safe.
  • If anyone needs urgent medical care, call emergency services by dialling 112 on your phone. This works on any mobile network; the number will connect you to a call centre that will get you help from the nearest hospital.
  • If any passengers or pedestrians have been injured, or if there is damage to property, you should not move the vehicles and you must remain at the scene until a police vehicle arrives according to the law
  • You can then turn the hazard lights on, especially if the accident took place at night or there is low visibility.
  • Check on people in the other vehicle, and if anyone is badly injured, none of the vehicles should be moved until a police officer has cleared it.

Step 2 – Taking down details

  • Get the emergency warning triangle out of your car, it’s usually stored in the boot, and place it at least 45 metres behind the crash scene.
  • Record information like the date, time, the weather, the accident location and other party’s details.
  • Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and kindly ask the other driver if you can take images of their car.

Full details of other vehicles involved in the accident are as follows:

  • Full names of other drivers and owner if the owner differs.
  • ID numbers of other drivers.
  • Cellphone and other contact numbers of the owner and driver.
  • Insurance details like the name of their insurance company and policy number.
  • If any of the drivers are driving a company vehicle, get the details of their employer too.
  • Take down the details of the vehicle/s, including: the make, model, colour and registration number.

Step 3 – Make the phone call

  • You can now call your insurer to let them know about the accident and arrange for a tow truck.
  • If you can still drive the car because there was only light damage, follow your insurer’s instructions about what to do next.

“Only use a towing service that’s authorised by your insurance provider. Don’t let tow truck drivers move your vehicle before you have authorisation from your insurer for the towing services, a quote and recorded their name, contact details and vehicle registration number,” Mpisane emphasises.

Step 4 – Get to the police station

  • You have to file an accident report at a police station within 24 hours of the accident.
  • This is where the details you collected at the scene will be crucial.

Accident reports are very detailed and your insurer will want information such as:

  • The time and location of the incident,
  • The details of the parties and their vehicles,
  • The road conditions,
  • If liquor or drug use was suspected and if anyone was tested on the scene,
  • A sketch and description of the accident.

“Even if you think it’s just minor damage, you must get an accident report number to claim with your insurer,” warns Mpisane.

“The accident report number is pivotal for insurers to process claims. This information is used to validate the claim. Both accident reports and insurance claim forms need clear details of the accident. Be honest  about the facts of the accident on these forms,” she concludes.

If the above steps are followed, it will make the insurance claim process following an accident a little smoother for all parties.

[Image – Photo by Clark Van Der Beken on Unsplash]

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