If You're in a Car Accident, This Is the One Thing You Must Do ASAP

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.


  • A car accident can be a frightening experience.
  • After a crash, it's important to report it to an insurer.
  • Alerting the insurance company can help protect the right to a damage claim. 

Neglecting to do this could cost you. 

After a car accident, it's crucial to take steps to protect the health of victims, including seeing a doctor ASAP if there is any reason to suspect injuries. But there's also one other task to do after a crash that many people forget about -- or don't realize is important -- if they were not the person who caused the collision to occur. 

This task is crucial after being involved in a car accident

Anyone who is involved in an auto accident should be sure to contact their auto insurance as soon as possible. 

The accident should be reported right away to the insurance claims hotline, even if the collision seems like it is a minor one, or even if it seems like another driver's insurance will be responsible for covering the costs. If the other driver offers to pay personally for the damage to avoid an insurance claim, it is still important even in this situation for those involved in the accident to alert their own insurer. 

Providing notice of an accident to an insurer is crucial to make certain insurance coverage is there if and when it is needed. If it turns out that fault is disputed and another driver tries to collect, auto insurance may need to pay for a legal defense -- or pay out damages. Or if it turns out injuries are more serious than expected, or that the other driver doesn't have sufficient money or insurance to cover injuries or property damage, then it would be crucial for the victim to be able to get the bills paid by their own insurer. 

It is simply not worth taking the risk of uncompensated losses when paying for accident claims is the entire purpose of buying auto insurance in the first place. Always report the crash to preserve the right to make a claim so the insurance company will have no excuse not to pay as promised if necessary.

How crash victims can ensure their rights are protected 

Crash victims should not only alert their insurer, but should also do all they can to make certain they get the full amount of money they deserve.

Going to see a doctor to get a comprehensive diagnosis and have injuries documented is important in case insurance needs to pay for care. Getting the names of witnesses at the crash scene can come in handy in case of a dispute over who is to blame. And calling the police is a good idea so there is a report about what happened that can help resolve controversy over fault. Finally, crash victims should be sure to take pictures of their vehicles and of the accident scene. 

By gathering as much information as possible at the scene of the crash, drivers will be well-prepared to provide any information their insurer asks for during the claims handling process. Armed with these details, crash victims should follow their insurance company's process for reporting the crash right away so they can be confident their insurer will have their back no matter what surprises come up in the accident's aftermath.

Our best car insurance companies for 2022

Ready to shop for car insurance? Whether you’re focused on price, claims handling, or customer service, we've researched insurers nationwide to provide our best-in-class picks for car insurance coverage. Read our free expert review today to get started.

Our Research Expert

Related Articles

View All Articles Learn More Link Arrow