At one point or another, even the best driver may end up tapping or nudging a vehicle around them. It could be a parking lot, downtown, or even in the middle of Albert Street traffic on a Friday afternoon. The point is, we all make mistakes and if we own up to it and move on, we can all be better because of it. Unless, of course, you’re the reigning Cynic on the Year… But that’s not the best way to handle this stressful situation.
Here are some tips for what to do (and what not to do) after a minor accident.
Is It Major or Minor?
This article is aimed at the minor fender bender accidents. The accident is considered major and you must report a major incident to police if there is:
- Excessive damage (vehicles cannot be safely driven)
- Injury or fatality
- Malicious damage (this does not include parking lot dings or random acts of vandalism with no culprit identification)
- Hit and run (only if there is at least 1 witness and/or physical evidence left behind. This could include if your vehicle was damaged overnight and you discovered it in the morning, for example.)
If none of the above apply, follow the instructions below.
1. Remain Calm
This one should go without saying. Raging at the culprit or running away, crying, et cetera will not solve any problems. Calmly pull your vehicle over to the right of the road and evaluate the damage. Exchange your information with the other driver. This will help make any claims go much faster and you can get your vehicle repaired sooner. Be sure to get their:
- First and last name
- Driver’s licence number (customer number)
- Licence plate number
- Insurance company
DO NOT discuss fault. This one may be difficult – getting hit or hitting someone can be upsetting – but controlling your emotions will help keep the situation from snowballing. If there were witnesses, get their name and phone number to help SGI determine what happened and who is responsible.
If possible, take a few minutes to write down your side of the story so you have a fresh memory when you report, including details like streets, speed, and anything that may help understand the situation. Take pictures of the damage.
2. File Your Claim
Next, you will need to submit a claim (within two years of the incident) and get the ball rolling to have your vehicle repaired. Online Auto eClaim is the most efficient; you can submit the claim 24/7 and everything is laid out pretty clearly. If you are more comfortable calling, SGI’s Dial-A-Claim is available during regular business hours. To report your claim, you will need:
- Driver’s licence
- Vehicle registration (and owner information if it’s not registered under your name)
- All the information you collected at the scene of the collision
- Package policy information if you have one
A claims adjuster will be assigned to your case.
3. Estimate the Damage
As an elite SGI-accredited repair facility, the folks here at Universal Collision are qualified to complete your vehicle damage estimate. This can save you a ton of time when waiting for your damage estimate. We can also offer a mobile estimate centre to come to your workplace if your schedule doesn’t allow taking time off work.
Once the damage estimate is complete, a printout will be provided with the estimated repair costs.
- Your adjuster will confirm your insurance coverage, inform you who is considered to be at fault for the collision, and finalize the claim to get your vehicle repaired.
- If your vehicle is beyond repair, you will begin the process for a total loss. (This is not usually the case in a minor fender bender.)
If you’re responsible for paying the deductible, the amount will be disclosed to you on the sheet. If you don’t have a reduced deductible, SGI has a payment plan to help you out. Repairs must be finalized within 2 years of the collision. We recommend getting the repairs done as soon as possible – leaving damage to the vehicle could make it worse and, in some cases, make your vehicle unsafe to drive.
4. Let the Pros Take Care of it.
Once your claim is approved for repair, bring it to one of our two repair shops in Regina. Our extensive process helps us deliver professional auto body repairs and get you back on the road. Our auto body repair specialists will meet or exceed original equipment standards and only use quality parts for repairs.
If you are not responsible for the accident or you have extended coverage (package policy) and you need a replacement vehicle while yours is being repaired, the cost of a rental is covered.*
*Other driver must have insurance coverage. You must talk to your insurance broker about the details of your own coverage.
Accidents happen all year long, not just in the winter. Practice safe and defensive driving habits to avoid collisions.