drivers filling out an accident report

Car accident report: the procedures

15 March 2021, 03:56

In the event of a road accident, it is advisable to carry exchange details. Reporting an accident to the police and your insurance company is mandatory.

📅 When to make an accident report?

You are not obliged to report an accident to the police immediately if no emergency services were required at the scene. You do however have to report the accident to the police within 24 hours if you didn’t exchange contact details at the scene with the other party involved. Failing to do so is a criminal offence and can lead to a fine of up to £5,000 or even a prison sentence.

You can also call 101, which is the non-emergency number for the police, to make your report.

You also have to tell your insurance company. Even if you are not planning to claim from your insurer you must inform them about the accident. The timeframe for this can vary from insurer to insurer but when in doubt do so as soon as possible. If you don’t comply it may invalidate your policy.

❔ How to complete an accident report?

There is no official form in the UK to report an accident as there is in EU countries. However, you should exchange the following details at the scene:

  • Name, address and contact details
  • Name and address of the vehicle owner if it belongs to someone else
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Insurance details if someone was injured. Even if someone has no obvious injuries it pays off to share your insurance details in case a person may have suffered injuries that weren’t visible at the time.

In addition, it is a good idea to note the time and date of the incident, road and weather conditions, and witness contact details. If you have a cell phone it can be useful to take pictures of any damage and the scene of the accident.

🌐 Online report of a road traffic incident

You can also report a traffic accident online with the Metropolitan Police. The online “Report a road traffic incident” section gives you the option to search an interactive map for the exact location and will lead you through various questions. Depending on your answers the site will tell you whether you are legally obliged to report the incident or not.

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