What You Should Do If You Are Involved In A Single-Car Accident

Posted on: 29 May 2015

Most people know what to do in the event of a two-car or multi-car collision, but what should you do if you are in a single-vehicle event? Do you need to report it to the police and to your insurance company? And what if there is damage to your vehicle? Will it be possible to recover money from your insurance company, or will it be difficult to prove your claim?

Types of Single-Car Events

Single-car accidents can occur for a number of reasons, including for the following reasons:

  • An animal runs into the path of your vehicle, causing you to swerve off the road. In some cases, your car may only suffer minor damage. However, it's also possible that you could run into an object or even flip your vehicle, which could cause severe damage.  
  • Bottoming out. Believe it or not, you can cause thousands of dollars of damage to the underside of your vehicle if you should bottom out on a hard object, such as a curb. 
  • Bad weather or ice. Slippery conditions could cause you to lose control and have a single-car incident. 
  • Other drivers who flee. Another driver could cut you off or force you off the road and then leave the scene. 

Reporting the Incident

Although you might think it unnecessary to report a single-car crash, it is important that you do call your insurance company and the police. According to the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA), the law states that you need to report an accident to the police if there is any damage to property -- your car, for example, or to a structure that you may have run into.

TADA also recommends that you should take your car to a Reporting Centre after an accident so that you can complete a government collision report form, which you might need if you are planning to file a claim for damages with your insurance company. 

Do You Have Collision or Upset or Comprehensive Coverage?

The damage to your car may be covered by your insurance company if you have paid for comprehensive or collision coverage. If you're not sure if you have these components, you should check your policy, since not everyone opts to pay for these. These components cover the following:

  • Comprehensive coverage. According to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, comprehensive insurance covers damages that are non-collision related. For example, if a tree branch were to fall on your car while you were driving it, comprehensive coverage should pay for your damages
  • Collision or upset coverage. If your policy contains collision or upset, it will pay for the damages to vehicle if you were to get into an accident with an object or if you should flip your vehicle. 

What You Should Do After an Accident

In addition to reporting the single-car accident to the proper parties, you should also:

  • Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle. In addition, you should also take photographs of anything you believe contributed to the accident. For example, if you hit an item in the road that you couldn't see because it was dark, you should take pictures of that object. 
  • Speak to anyone who might have witnessed the accident. You may need their statements to help you win a claim. 

If your vehicle suffered very little damage in a single-car collision, you may want to pay for the repairs out of your own pocket -- especially if you have a high deductible. But if you have extensive damage and have collision or comprehensive coverage, it may be worth putting a claim in to have the repairs paid for by your auto insurance company.