I just got into a car accident ... in a foreign country. What do I do now?
If you're involved a car accident overseas, don't panic. There’s plenty you can do following an accident to minimise the stress and potential expense of the situation. Follow these steps:
- Safety first. The first thing you should do is check on the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved in the accident. Call the appropriate emergency services.
- Check your surroundings. Is the area surrounding the accident safe? What can you do to minimise the risk of another accident occurring? Are there any dangers to be avoided, such as fuel leaking from a car? Do the vehicles need to be moved off a major road?
- Collect details. Now it’s time to get the information of other drivers involved in an accident and any witnesses.
- Take photos. Take photos of the accident scene and of the damage to all of the vehicles involved. This could be very useful when it comes time to make a claim.
- Phone your insurer. The next step is to get in touch with your insurance provider to let them know what has happened and find out what you need to do to make a claim.
- Check your vehicle. Give your vehicle a thorough inspection to determine whether or not it is safe to drive away from the accident scene. If in doubt, don’t drive it anywhere.
- Get the necessary documentation. This will include police reports and itemised list of damage from the repair shop.
- Make a claim. Make sure to provide all the information and documentation your insurance provider needs to be able to process your claim.
Information to take down in a foreign country
Make sure to obtain the following information from each driver involved in the accident:
- Their full name
- Their residential address
- Their contact details
- Their driver’s licence number
- The registration details of their vehicle
- Their insurance information (You will need to find out the name of their insurer and their insurance policy number)
It’s also recommended that you try to obtain the names and contact details of anyone who witnessed the accident.
Get in touch your travel insurer
Make sure that you have your insurers contact details handy wherever you are on your trip. Most Australian travel insurers provide 24/7 emergency assistance lines that you can contact from anywhere in the world, and it’s essential that you call the relevant hotline for your insurer as soon as possible.
Travel Insurance Brands 24/7 emergency assistance contact numbers
If you (or anyone else covered on your policy) needs medical treatment, the call centre operators will be able to advise you on how you can receive the immediate medical assistance you need. In many countries around the world, hospitals will also require upfront payment or confirmation that your travel insurer will cover all your medical costs before offering you any treatment.
Your travel insurer to can also give you advice on what to do next. For example, your insurer can let you know the specific information you need to collect from other drivers, and any other information they will require to process your claim.
Making a claim
Once you have taken down driver information and have made initial contact with your travel insurer you will need to gather any extra information requested by your insurer. This could include:
- Police reports
- Medical reports
- Details of those involved in the accident
- Photographs of vehicle damage
- Itemised list of damage/repairs
You will usually have to submit a claim form along with these documents to your insurance provider. Remember, there is typically a 30 day timeframe whereby you must submit your claim within. If you're physically unable to make the claim, make sure you have your travelling partner or someone else make the claim on your behalf.
Depending on the insurer you may be able to do this online, via email, by fax or by post.
We looked at the most frequented destinations for our users and then contrast that with recent Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) data, which analysed the road deaths per 100,000 population for all 32 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Below is how Australia faired compared with the top 10 most visited OECD nations by our users. The second tab contains the full list of all 32 countries and how they faired over the last 25 years.
Top 10 most dangerous driving destinations
Road deaths per 100,000 since 1990 by OECD nation
What if my accident involves a rental vehicle?
If you’re driving a rental vehicle overseas and involved in an accident, make sure to follow all the same steps as above. Not only will this ensure that the accident scene remains safe and that everyone receives the medical attention they need, but it will also give you the best chance of any insurance claims being paid.
Rental excess charges
Rental vehicle companies usually require that you pay what is known as rental excess if you're involved in an accident. Luckily, the vast majority of comprehensive travel insurance policies include rental vehicle excess cover. This provides financial protection when your rental vehicle is maliciously damaged, stolen or involved in a collision. This benefit provides cover for the insurance excess you would otherwise have to pay in these circumstances, which could be several thousands of dollars.
If you’re involved in an accident and then medically unfit to return the rental vehicle to your nearest depot, travel insurance will also often cover the cost of having the car returned to the rental company. However, you’ll need written evidence from your treating doctor that you are unfit to get behind the wheel.
How does travel insurance cover me for accidents?
Travel insurance can help you with covering any medical expenses you incur and any cancellations that need to made as a result of the crash. Damage to the vehicle and third party property is the responsibility of the motor insurance in the name of the vehicle or rental vehicle.
Compare travel insurance policies to cover you medically in car accidents overseas
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