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What to do if you have an accident in your vehicle

With Covid restrictions lifting and the summer holidays starting, the South West is seeing a rise in staycations and increasing numbers of vehicles on the roads.

Unfortunately, narrow rural roads and higher volumes of traffic can mean more incidents, so it is important to know what to do if you have an accident while out on the road. Emma Turner, Claims Technician at Cornish Mutual, looks at the best actions to take if you are involved in a collision while driving.

“The first thing you should do is get the other party’s vehicle registration number – this is the most important piece of information that you can obtain, and providing it increases the chances of being able to make a successful claim after the accident. If the incident involves a trailer attached to a vehicle, try to get the registration number of the towing vehicle as this is sometimes different to the trailer’s plate.

“Make sure to take down the name and address of the other driver – if their vehicle is not insured correctly, this information will help to progress the claims investigation.

“On-scene photos are another important piece of evidence to provide – images of damage caused to yours and the other party’s vehicle can show if there was any pre-existing damage, and will help to provide an accurate picture of what happened on the day. If it safe to do so, take photos of any damage to the vehicles involved, and pictures of the location (such as the road in both directions), as this will help establish what conditions were like when the incident occurred.

“Witnesses are another key support for your case. If the accident happens with other drivers nearby, obtain their contact details if you can – email addresses and telephone numbers are best. If the police attended, ask them to provide a log number as this can be used to obtain updates while your claim is being processed.

“If you have an accident on a rural road, however, the only witnesses might be you and the other driver. In this situation, dashcam footage can be an excellent stand-in for eyewitnesses, and if your camera is set up properly, its recording may clearly show the facts of what happened.

“Ultimately, the more information you can gather at the scene of an accident and provide to us as soon as you can, the better the odds are of a beneficial outcome. Vehicle collisions can be very unpleasant situations, but by taking these early steps you can move towards a positive outcome later on.”

The Cornish Mutual Claims Team are available on 01872 277151 from 08:30-19:00 Monday to Friday, and 09:00-13:00 on Saturdays.

Find out more about the best ways to use dash cams, and see motor insurance FAQs.