Being involved in a car accident can be one of life's more stressful ordeals, especially if you are unsure about what process to follow immediately after an incident. Almost 150,000 accidents were reported in the UK in 2015, and considering the number of licensed vehicles increases at a rate of half a million each year, that number is likely to keep growing.

what to do if youre in an accident exchanging details

Take a few minutes to read our step-by-step guide below to give yourself peace of mind that, should the worse happen, you know what to do.

Note: This is a general guide to the steps a road user should take if they are involved in an accident in the UK, it is not a guide for how to claim on your policy!

Incident involving a Third Party

This includes....

- Another road user

- A pedestrian

- A property owner (including house, possessions and pets)

Immediately after the incident

When you're involved in an incident that affects another person(s), you must stop your vehicle at the earliest opportunity whilst not endangering other road users. If you so happen to damage someone else's property and the owner isn't present, you should wait for a reasonable amount of time in order to alert them to the damage and exchange insurance details. If this isn't possible, you need to report the incident to the police within 24 hours to allow them to make contact with the owner.

If another party is involved and present, the first thing to do is identify whether anyone is injured. If so, you or someone at the scene should contact the police or medical services depending on the scale of accident and injury. If you were directly involved you will need to inform the police of the incident and present a copy of your Certificate of Insurance within 24 hours and 7 days respectively.

If no one was injured, then those involved should inspect the vehicle(s) and property involved to check the extent of the damage. Most motor insurers insist that they're informed of any incident, regardless of whether you or another party intend to submit a claim. As a result, your next port of call should always be to exchange insurance details:

Details to exchange
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Name and address of driver and/or vehicle/property owner (if different)
  • Insurer details i.e. name of insurance provider & policy number (if available)

Information to gather at the scene For claims purposes it is very important that you jot down as much detail at the scene as possible in order to support your claim. This includes but it not limited to:
  • Time of incident
  • Location
  • Weather conditions at the time
  • Traffic conditions
  • Road markings, traffic signs and traffic signals in vicinity of incident
  • Vehicle registration numbers of those involved
  • Make & model of vehicles involved
  • Road position and driver actions and behaviour leading up to and after the incident (if applicable)
  • Contact information of involved parties and witnesses (if necessary)
  • Details of any police officers called to the scene
  • Detailed description of damage caused to vehicles and property

Informing your insurer

When reporting an incident to your insurer be sure to do it at your earliest possible convenience. Your insurer will require a great level of detail from you so the more you gather at the scene, including witnesses who can collaborate, the better.

After you've returned home

For all bumps and prangs no matter how minor they appear, it's recommended that you get your vehicle checked over by a professional to ensure there's not more serious damage lurking beneath the body work.