Road accidents are unavoidable. Everyone who has been behind the wheel would have gone through it — be it a minor prang or a major write-off. No matter how carefully you drive, others may not share the same thinking as you. And if you haven’t been in an accident, then all the more you should continue reading this.
It is imperative that you are fully informed on the correct procedures to be applied in the event of an accident to protect yourself not only from scams but also to ensure you can properly exercise your rights. So what should you do? Regardless of who was at fault, below are the actions that you should take.
Step One: Cry.
No, seriously. It’s okay. Absolutely no shame in it. If it’s your parents’ car, you can cry even harder. Now that you’ve let it out take a deep breath and calm down. You should stay calm throughout the rest of the process and keep a clear head at all times.
Step Two: Call Your Insurance Provider.
Notify your insurance agent or company that you’ve been in an accident. They will be able to advise you on the next steps that need to be taken and inform you of your claims.
If you’re not sure who your insurance provider is or don’t have their contact details, then remember this number 15-500. This will put you in touch with the Accident Assist Call Centre (AACC) 24 hours a day. AACC is a free service provided by the General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM). Besides providing assistance during a crash, it can also assist you in the event of a breakdown.
Step Three: Step Out, Stay Calm, Look Confident. Or…
Coming out of your car, all flustered and angry will not solve any problems; it may even have the opposite effect. Appearing timid and inexperience might open you up to getting cheated or scammed because... humans.
Or… if the accident happens on a lonely and dark road, the safest thing to do is to drive to the nearest police station to check the damage, if your car can still move on its own. Else, call 15500 - see Step Two.
Step Four: Make A Police Report.
At the very least, you need the driver’s name, the IC Number, phone number, car number plate, time and location of the accident — the police will ask you these when you make a report. It will be helpful to also note that the make and model of the car. Take pictures of the scene and damage.
Note down a detailed description of what happened and collect as much information as possible. Write it down if you must. This will be important when lodging your police report later. You may be asked to repeat what happened several times. If you have a dashcam, showing the recording to the police can help to explain the situation.
Make sure to lodge a police report within 24 hours of the crash. It is best to lodge the report immediately when the details are still fresh in your mind. If you are hassled by any unscrupulous third parties, include them in your report as well. Once the report is done, you can proceed to make a claim with your insurance company.
Now that we’ve told you what to do, here is what you should NOT do.
This is important! Never enter into any negotiations with any party without the prior consent of the insurers. Also, do not accept any settlement, receive any cash advance, reveal personal banking information or sign any document from unknown parties in request to offer help. This is to avoid accident victims receiving inadequate claim amounts compared to the original cost to be paid by the insurers as a result of the unknown parties charging a high service fee and expenses claimed.
Now that you know what to do and what to not do, you should also hope that you never need to use this information. Go forth and drive safe.