Here's our advice if you've had an accident
How can I be accident aware?
Be prepared for the worst by keeping a pen and paper, a first aid kit and a torch in your car.
And if you do call to make a car insurance claim, we'll need your personal details, description of the accident, where you are, and contact details of any third party, including passengers and witnesses.
What should I do straight after an accident?
- Try and pull into a safe place and put on the hazard warning lights.
- If you're on a motorway and can pull on to the hard shoulder, turn your front wheels towards the verge and get out of your car on the passenger side.
- Keep your sidelights on if it's dark or visibility is poor.
- Attend to anyone that has been hurt and call an ambulance if necessary.
- Call the police and obtain an incident number. If you're on a motorway hard shoulder and don't have a mobile phone, follow the posts at the edge of the hard shoulder to an emergency phone, which calls directly to the police.
- Assess the damage to your car.
The accident involved a collision with another driver
In a collision with one or more drivers, stay calm and don't admit fault or liability – if another driver admits fault, then tell us.
- Exchange details with the other driver(s): name, address, phone number, car registration number, insurance company details and policy number.
- Record names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses.
- Write down how the accident happened, including sketches if it helps. If you have a phone or camera – and if it's safe to do so – take photos of the scene, the road layout and the damage to the vehicles involved.
Then report the accident to the 24-hour AA Accident Assist team as soon as possible on 0330 053 0322.
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Following the accident
Who will deal with my claim?
Your AA Accident Assist claim advisor will record the details of your claim and explain all the available options. They'll tell you what your policy covers, including the use of a replacement vehicle.
The claim advisor will also check if you've purchased any optional upgrades, and make sure you benefit from these where applicable.
If you're unable to continue your journey, we'll tell you if your policy covers travelling expenses to reach your destination, or if necessary hotel accommodation for one night.
If you or your passengers suffer injury as a result of the accident and it wasn't your fault, we can put you in touch with our expert panel of solicitors to deal with your injury claim.
Your AA Accident Assist claim advisor will be on hand if you have any questions about the claims process. And they'll contact you during the claims process to make sure everything is progressing well.
What happens to my car if it's repairable
AA Accident Assist has a network of Approved Repairers throughout the UK. They'll contact you to arrange repair work to your vehicle, and provide a replacement vehicle for the duration of the repairs.
All of our Approved Repairers are audited by the AA, and the repairs are guaranteed for a minimum of 3 years and use only high quality approved parts. We'll collect and return your car to you, and even clean it inside and out.
Your Approved Repairer will tell you when the repairs have been completed. If you have a policy excess, this must be paid to the repairer directly upon completion of the repairs.
If you want to use your own repair bodyshop, this must be discussed with AA Accident Assist or your insurer before you proceed. If approved by them, the repairs won't be guaranteed by the AA and a replacement vehicle for the duration of the repairs won't be provided.
What happens to my car if it's written off
A write-off is also known as a total loss. If it's deemed uneconomic to repair your car then your insurer will pay you its fair market value before the accident.
The insurer's engineer will determine the vehicle's market value by checking motor trade guides and its retail value, taking into account the model, age, mileage and condition, and any extras that are fitted.
We'll replace the vehicle with a new one if you're the first and only registered keeper, and your car is less than 13 months old.
If you've purchased our AA Car Hire policy and haven't already spoken to AA Accident Assist to arrange a hire vehicle, call us on 0330 053 0322.
Once arranged, your claim advisor will keep you informed on the progress of your claim, and confirm when the hire vehicle will need to be returned.
What if I was injured in the accident?
If you or your passengers suffered any form of injury as a result of the accident, which you don't believe to be your fault, we may be able to provide you with a solicitor.
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They'll make a claim for compensation on your behalf, which will include any other losses that you may have incurred, for example your policy excess or loss of earnings.
If you included the optional Motor Accident Plan on your policy, this significantly improves on the personal injury cover included in our comprehensive policy. For example, Motor Accident Plan pays up to £60,000 if you, or a named driver on your policy, are injured or die as a result of a car crash.
What if the accident wasn't my fault?
If you've been involved in an accident which is 100% not your fault, AA Accident Assist may be able to:
- Authorise repairs to your vehicle directly without you having to pay the poilcy excess, and your no claim discount may not be affected.
- Provide a replacement car similar to your own for the duration of repairs, or for up to 7 days after a settlement from your insurer, if your vehicle is deemed a total loss.
AA Accident Assist will recover all the costs incurred directly from the third-party insurer.
If you decide not to use the AA Accident Assist service, your insurer will arrange the repairs to your vehicle. However, you'll have to pay your policy excess, and your no claim discount will be affected until the insurer successfully recovers their financial outlay.
To find out more, call us on 0330 053 0322.
What if the accident was my fault?
If you have comprehensive cover, your insurer will arrange repairs to your vehicle or negotiate a settlement if the vehicle is a total loss. The insurer will also meet the cost of the third-party claim.
What should I do if the other party contacts me?
If you receive any correspondence from the third party, their insurer or solicitor, forward it unanswered immediately to your own insurer. They'll respond on your behalf.
And if you're contacted by phone, ask the caller to contact us on 0330 053 0322.
Don't agree to any services offered without talking to us first – they may not be in your best interest.
What if the other driver disputes the accident circumstances?
Your insurer will always do their very best to obtain an admission of liability from the other driver or their insurer.
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They'll do this by providing evidence and the information you've given them. If the evidence provided does not fully support either driver's version of events, then both insurers may need to take some responsibility.
Policy excesses explained
What is the excess?
An excess is the first 'portion' of a claim which you pay, regardless of blame, when your vehicle is repaired or it's a total loss. The excess is individual to each policy and, in the event of a claim, you only ever have to pay your own excess. Your policy will have a complusory excess, and also a voluntary excess set by you.
If you purchased the optional Excess Protection with your car insurance, you can claim back your policy excess on a claim where you're at fault or the other party involved can't be identified.
Where can I find information about my excesses?
Details of your policy excesses are in your Statement of Insurance.
Who do I pay my excess to?
If your vehicle is repairable, you'll pay the excess directly to the repairer.
In the event your vehicle is a total loss, stolen or not recovered, your insurer will deduct any applicable excesses from the settlement issued to you.
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If you were involved in an accident that wasn't your fault and you purchased Motor Legal Assistance from us, or it's included as standard within your policy, we may be able to recover the excess fee from the third-party's insurer.