After an accident, one of the most common questions drivers have is, “what now?” The answer is this: visit an Ontario Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours to report the incident to the police. But if you’ve never been in an accident before, you probably have many questions about:
- Which reporting centre to visit
- What to bring
- How to prepare
We’re going to answer all of these questions.
Gathering important information after an accident
Getting into a car accident is stressful and nerve-racking, but it’s important to stay calm and follow certain steps in the minutes and hours following the incident. Once you’ve ascertained that there are no injuries, you’ll have to assess and document any damage that’s happened to any of the vehicles involved.
If the combined damage is over $2,000, then you must report the incident to an Ontario Collision Reporting Centre. You might want to write down the details of the accident and any potential contributing factors as well, for future reference.
Then exchange and document information with the other drivers involved, including:
- Contact information
- Driver’s license number
- License plate
- Vehicle information
- Vehicle insurance provider and policy number
Preparing for your visit to a collision reporting centre
Ok, so you’ve just been in an accident and know you need to go to a Collision Reporting Centre, but what do you need to bring?
One of the most important things is your vehicle, even if you need to have it towed there, because an officer will inspect it for damage. You’ll also need your driver’s license, insurance policy number, and registration, plus the information you collected about the other drivers involved.
If you took any photos, got any witness statements, or collected contact information from anybody who saw the accident, then make sure you bring all that as well.
Determining which reporting centre to visit
Another common question that drivers have after an accident is, “can I visit any Collision Reporting Centre?” The answer, unfortunately, is no: even if you live in another city or province, you still have to file the report at a centre in the city where the accident occurred.
If you’re not sure where the nearest reporting centre is, you can find a full list of Ontario collision reporting centres here to choose the closest city to where the accident happened.
You can file an accident report without involving your auto insurance provider
One thing that drivers often want to know is whether going to a reporting centre means your car insurance provider will automatically find out, but that’s not the case. If you don’t plan to make a claim and don’t want your insurance provider to know about the accident, know that you can do this.
However, many insurance carriers make mandatory reporting a part of their policy agreements. Even if that doesn’t apply to your situation, you may find yourself in a pickle with your insurance carrier if they find out from someone other than you—such as the other driver’s insurance company.
Car accidents are frightening and unnerving, but being prepared for what comes next can help you stay calm in a scary situation. Just remember to collect as much information as possible at the accident scene, and then make your way to a Collision Reporting Centre as soon as possible with all your identification and registration, and all the information and evidence you collected at the scene of the accident.