No one is completely safe from car accidents, not even the most experienced driver. If you’re involved in an accident, knowing what to do will be extremely helpful (and will reduce your stress!). Should you make a claim with your insurer? If yes, how? And finally, how can you keep your insurance premium from going up? We’ll be going over these topics and more, so you’ll know what to do.
In this article:
Sources of distraction
Better safe than sorry! Distracted drivers are responsible for nearly four million collisions each year in North America.1 We can’t always assume it will happen to someone else! Before we discuss what needs to be done after an accident, we should talk about how to prevent them. Here are the main distractions you should avoid when driving:
- Talking or texting on your phone
- Eating or drinking
- Shaving, putting makeup on or flossing!
Tip: Want to know if you’re a good driver? The Ajusto program records the number of phone-based distractions that occur while you drive (for informational purposes only). Take stock of your driving habits in order to improve your behaviour on the road, lowering your chances of a car accident.
For more information about distractions while driving, read these tips!
What to do after an accident?If you’re involved in an accident, it’s important that you stay as calm as possible.
- Check to see if there is any damage.
- If anyone is hurt, call for help. You also need to call the police, who will prepare an accident report.
- If nobody is hurt, you can fill out the accident report (PDF) Important: This PDF is intended for printing. It has not been optimized for screen readers. To find out the information you need to exchange with the other driver after an accident, call us at 1-888-776-8343. in order to exchange the following information with the other driver involved:
- Driver name and address
- Driver’s license number
- Name and address of vehicle owner listed on the registration
- Licence plate number
- Information on the insurance certificate
Tip: If you have a smartphone, you can take a picture of the other driver’s license, registration and insurance certificate.
Should you file a claim or not?
Whether or not your vehicle is damaged, there are a lot of good reasons to file a claim with your insurer, especially if another person was involved or property was damaged:
- The Fichier central des sinistres automobiles (FCSA) in Quebec: Even if you don’t report the accident, the other driver involved might. The accident would then be recorded in the FCSA and could affect your file. That’s why it’s a good idea to share your side of the story.
- If property belonging to someone else was damaged (a gate, for example): You have to declare the accident even if your property was not damaged, or if your car isn’t covered. The other person may ask to be compensated for the damage caused.
- When damages are caused only to your car, for example, after an attempted theft or broken window, you can choose to file a claim with your insurer or pay for the repairs yourself.
How do you know if filing a claim is worth it?
Check your auto insurance policy to see if damages to your vehicle are covered. If you still aren’t sure about your coverage, your deductible amount, or anything else, contact an insurance agent. They’ll be able to help you out and give you advice—they’re there to advise you, after all! They will help you make the right choice and can tell you what effect a claim would have on your premium.
Tip: Before getting in an accident, you can sign up for optional Accident-Free Protection. That way, your insurance premium will not increase after your first at-fault accident.
The claims process
At Desjardins Insurance, it just takes a few steps to file an auto insurance claim.
- Open your claims file online or over the phone. You’ll be able to:
- Provide the circumstances of the accident
- Check your coverage under your insurance policy
- Locate the body shops recommended by your insurer to get your vehicle fixed
- Get a file number
- Assess the damage: Determine if the cost of repairs is greater than the value of your vehicle, and find out how long the repairs would take. If the cost of repairs is higher than the value of your car, it will be considered a “total loss”. Depending on your auto insurance coverage, you’ll be paid for either your car’s value on the day of the loss, or according to the terms in your policy.
- File analysis: Determine the liability of each of the drivers, as well as the scope of your coverage.
- Car Repair. You will be put directly in contact with the body shop. Depending on your auto coverage, you may be entitled to a replacement vehicle while your car is being repaired.
- Payment: Your claims advisor will confirm the deductible amount to pay, if there is one. If your vehicle was declared a total loss, you’ll receive a cheque as soon as your insurer has received all of the required documents. In the event of a total loss, there may still be a deductible to pay—not all policies waive your deductible in case of total loss.
- File closing. Once liability has been established and payments have been made, your file will be closed.
Find more information on the process in the Desjardins Insurance Claim Centre!
How to keep your car insurance premiums from going up after an accident
Your auto insurance premium may go up after a claim. There are still many different ways you can save on your car insurance:
- Combine all of your vehicles under one policy
- Bundle your home and auto insurance policies with the same insurer
- Increase your deductible amount (the amount you agree to pay in the event of a claim)
- Choose a vehicle that’s less popular with thieves
- Have an alarm system installed
- Drive an environmentally friendly vehicle
- Don’t have any infractions on your driving record
Tip: Depending on your profile or vehicle type, you could get a discount from your insurer.
The best way to avoid getting in an accident is to reduce the number of distractions while you drive, including phone use or any other activity that could take your attention off the road. If you’re in an accident, stay calm. Call the police if someone is hurt, otherwise just fill out the joint accident report. Then, contact your insurer to declare the loss and ask them how a claim could affect your insurance premiums. Remember that there are other ways to reduce your premium, and that your insurance agent is equipped to help you with everything related to your auto insurance.
Certain conditions, exclusions and limitations may apply. The offers and savings may change without notice. The terms and conditions of the coverages described are set out in the insurance policy, which always prevails. These tips are provided for information purposes only, are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.
1. Distracted Driving – Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Accident with a collision: what to do? – Desjardins Insurance
Distractions at the wheel: did you know? – Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec
Car accidents: What to do – Éducaloi