What should I do if I have an accident?
First, stop your vehicle and move it to a safe place, out of traffic if at all possible. Check with passengers in all vehicles involved to determine if there are any injuries and call for medical assistance if needed. Stand away from the cars in a safe location. Don't leave the scene, as by law you are required to stop and remain at the scene of an accident. Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. You should exchange names, addresses, telephone numbers, type and ownership of vehicles, licence plate numbers, insurance information and a description of damages. If you have a camera or video camera in the car, get pictures before the vehicles and/or property are moved. If possible make a sketch plan of the accident while the details are fresh in your mind.
Get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses before they lose interest and leave the scene. Notify the police. They will advise you if their response to the scene is necessary or not. In some regions, including Toronto, for smaller accidents you will be directed to a collision reporting centre where the police will record all the details of the accident. Do not admit fault to anyone, as there are multiple factors contributing to an accident and you could create problems for yourself and your insurers in the handling of your claim. Give factual details of your recollection of the accident and cooperate with the police in providing answers to their questions.
If your vehicle needs to be towed, have it towed to the nearest collision reporting centre where it can stay until you contact your insurer or request it be towed to a place of safe storage. Be sure to ask the tow truck driver what they charge prior to having the car hooked up. Keep the details so that you can advise us of where you vehicle is located. . As soon as possible, either report the loss to our office or report it directly to your insurer.
A Collision Reporting Centre is a police facility created to help motorists in reporting motor vehicle collisions.
This service is currently available in the Greater Toronto Area, Halton and Peel regions. No fees are charged; all expenses are paid by Ontario's insurers.
Collision Reporting Centres in Ontario
What actions should I take before going to a Collision Reporting Centre?
1. Check to ensure police presence is not required.
2. If it is safe to do so, remove vehicles from the roadway.
3. Exchange information with the other involved parties, including independent witnesses. (Names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance companies and vehicle particulars, etc.).
4. As soon as possible, bring your vehicle to the Collision Reporting Centre most convenient to you.
5. Bring documentation with you to the Collision Reporting Centre (driver's licence,ownership and insurance, etc.).
When should I go to a Collision Reporting Centre?
With the following exceptions, any driver involved in a collision where damage to vehicles or property is more than $2,000 may report the accident to a Collision Reporting Centre. Police will come to the scene when one or more of the following situations apply.
1. Collisions involving injury or death.
2. Criminal activity involved in collisions (e.g., impaired driving, stolen vehicle, assault, etc.).
3. Collisions involving federal, provincial or municipal vehicles (including TTC).
4. Collisions involving a person who is uninsured or is a suspended driver.
5. Collisions involving vehicles transporting dangerous goods.
6. Collisions involving a damage to private, municipal or highway property.
Without exception, towed vehicles must go directly to a Collision Reporting Centre.
What should I do if my vehicle is stolen
Report it to the police and then to us. Usually stolen vehicles are recovered within a few weeks, and sometimes with only minor damage. Your insurer will wait a reasonable amount of time before offering a settlement to you in order to see if the vehicle will be recovered. During this time it is often a good idea to look for a replacement vehicle so that your are prepared in case your vehicle is not recovered and your insurer offers a settlement.
Loss of Use Coverage
This coverage will pay for the cost of alternative transportation such as a rental car while your car is being repaired as a result of an insured loss. If you have purchased loss of use coverage your insurer will provide payments up to the time settlement is tendered, or until the maximum limit is reached. It is important to check your limit as it is possible to use up the entire limit in cases where the car is going through extensive repairs.
What if something is stolen from my car?
We all tend to think of our cars as safe havens from the outside world. When we sing along with the radio we like to think people don’t notice, and when we leave something valuable on our back seat we like to think no one will touch it. Unfortunately, thieves often break into cars that appear to have valuable items inside. If your car is vandalized or stolen, you’ll need to file an auto insurance claim; however, items stolen from your vehicle are usually covered under your homeowners, condominium or tenants insurance and you will need to file a separate claim for them. It’s best to avoid keeping valuables in your car.
When reporting your accident to your insurer ask them for the name and address of the nearest recommended garage. You are free to choose your own repair facility, as long as their cost is reasonable. The advantages of using a garage preferred by your insurer are:
Similarly, many insurers have arrangements with glass replacement companies.
What you should consider before you make a claim
One of the main considerations for people is the financial consequences of making a claim on their insurance. If the damage is small it may be worth covering the cost yourself instead of using your insurance in order to prevent a negative effect on your rate. Often small repairs are near or below the existing deductible. Check with our office to discuss your options.
When deciding to look after damages yourself take into consideration the potential additional costs you could incur such as storage and rental car expenses.
Making a Claim
The most important thing to remember is never to have any repairs started before speaking to your insurer. Contact our office to begin the claim process, or for after hours, contact your insurer's 24-hour claims line. A claims adjuster will explain the claims process and take down preliminary details.
The cost of repairs is your responsibility until your insurer has agreed to pay. For your peace of mind, you may want to obtain confirmation from your insurer that they accept liability and will pay the cost of repair.