We hope you’re never involved in a car collision – but in the unfortunate event you are, it’s important to know what to do. Here's a quick guide.
At the site of collision
Be prepared by knowing what to do if you’re ever involved in a collision. Keep these things in mind and make sure other drivers in your family know what to do in the event of a collision.
stop – failure to remain at the scene of an accident may result in criminal prosecution
call 911 or local police if:
someone is hurt
you think any other driver may be guilty of a Criminal Code offence, such as impaired driving
you suspect you’re the victim of a staged collision
there is significant property damage or the vehicle is not drivable
report the collision to police, as required by regulations in your province or territory
if it’s safe, move the vehicles to the side of the road
if vehicles aren’t drivable, turn on hazard lights or surround the vehicles with cones or warning triangles
regardless of the circumstances never admit fault, sign any documents regarding fault or promise to pay for damages
record all collision details as soon as possible following a collision. An accident report form can help to make sure you capture important details for your claim or police report
what, how, when and where it happened
weather and road conditions
names, addresses, licence plate numbers and insurance details of all drivers, passengers and witnesses
if possible, take photos of any vehicle damage
Be wary of tow truck operators who pressure you to authorize towing or repairs. You have the right to request estimates of fees in advance.
It’s important that you report the collision within 48-72 hours whether you decide to file a claim or not. Make sure you understand your responsibilities and the claim process.
Spot a staged collision
Here’s how to spot and protect yourself from 3 types of staged collisions:
"Swoop and squat" scam
One scammer cuts off an accomplice, who then slams on the brakes in front of you and then claims you were at fault for rear-ending them.
How to help prevent it: Always keep plenty of distance between you and the car ahead.
"Drive down" scam
The scammer waves you out of your parking spot and then accelerates into you and claims the collision was your fault.
How to help prevent it: be cautious and patient when exiting a parking spot - wait until the coast is clear before exiting a spot. And, when possible, reverse into parking spots - this will help when it's time to leave.
"Bullet left turn" scam
The scammer waves you through an intersection and then drives into you and claims you are at fault.
How to help prevent it: be wary of accepting the right of way when making a left turn and ensure you're turning safely - with plenty of space between you and oncoming vehicles.
If you have information about auto insurance crime you can:
Know your tow
Call your insurance representative as soon as possible to report the collision. They can provide helpful advice on tow options, repair and car rental companies. Here’s what’s important to know if you need your car towed:
it’s your right to decide who can tow your vehicle and to what location (unless otherwise directed by police)
you must sign a “permission to tow” form (in Ontario) the towing company must provide an itemized invoice before receiving payment and starting work
you’re entitled to a receipt for tow services rendered
you can pay for services with a debit or credit card
don’t store your vehicle in a compound yard unless directed by your insurance representative
never sign a blank contract or take referrals from tow companies
Are you an Ontario driver? Learn how new regulations will protect your consumer rights.
Prepare a vehicle emergency kit
Always keep an emergency kit in your vehicle and ensure it's properly supplied and updated. Here are a few things to add to yours:
first aid kit
tow rope, jumper cables and fire extinguisher
portable shovel, scraper, snowbrush, antifreeze and windshield washer fluid
salt, sand or non-clumping cat litter
non-perishable food such as energy or granola bars
water – replace every 6 months
warm blanket, extra clothes, shoes or boots
cash, including small bills and change for pay phones
wind-up or regular portable radio and batteries
warning light and matches, flashlight and batteries
road flares and a whistle - in case you need to attract attention
printed road maps
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How to file a claim
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Distracted driving can be just as dangerous as driving impaired. Keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
If you have a complaint about your insurer or insurance professional, keep these 4 steps in mind to be sure you’re heard and that your issue is resolved.