Fender Bender 411: What Canadians don't know could cost them

-- TD Insurance poll finds less than one-third of Canadians know exact steps to take after an auto accident --

TORONTO, Sept. 4, 2013 /CNW/ - As Canadians rush back to work and school, there will be an influx of vehicles on the road. But before putting the key in the ignition, are drivers educating themselves on the steps to take if they're involved in a fender bender? A recent poll from TD Insurance reveals that although nine-in-ten Canadians (89%) are somewhat or extremely likely to know what to do following an auto accident, only 31% know the exact steps to take. In a real-life situation, would drivers be prepared to deal with an accident as safely and efficiently as possible? How these situations are handled could lead to negative financial consequences.

"Fender benders resulting from drivers making sudden stops in intersections, or pulling out of a parking spot without checking first happen every day, so it's important to be prepared and know what steps to take afterwards," says Dave Minor, a vice president at TD Insurance. "The actions you take after a minor accident can affect your insurance coverage, so be sure to review the steps with your insurance provider when you renew your policy each year."

Dave Minor offers the following tips to drivers:

  • Keep calm - Being in an accident is stressful; try not to panic or make rash decisions. When speaking with the other party involved, don't accept money or admit fault for the collision, and don't agree to just "forget about it." Most drivers (87%) know that if they're in an accident, under no circumstances should they accept money or accept fault, as this can affect the coverage their insurance company will provide for the incident.

    "Whether you're a seasoned or brand new driver, you can never be too prepared during an emergency," said Minor. "It's a good idea to have an emergency kit handy, include items such as a first aid kit, road flares and a flashlight with extra batteries."
  • Safety first - Check to make sure everyone involved is safe. If anyone is injured, do not move them, doing so could worsen their injuries. If you're able to safely move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic, while protecting it from further damage, do so.  More than half of drivers (51%) incorrectly believe that if they are in an accident, they should never move their vehicle from the road before the police arrive, or they will not be able to determine who was at fault. This isn't always the case.

    "Your number one priority after getting into an accident is making sure everyone in the vehicle is safe," says Minor. "Once you've established the safety of the passengers, take steps to protect everyone from any additional damage by moving your vehicle out of traffic."
  • Call the police - Call 911 to report the accident if anyone is injured, if you believe that there is major damage to your vehicle, or if you think a criminal act may have been committed. For non-emergency related collisions where no one is injured or there is only minor damage (less than $1,000) to your vehicle, it might also be a good idea to call the police. They might direct you to your provincial collision reporting centre.

  • Take notes - Include details of the accident and identification of the vehicles and people involved, including emergency personnel or witnesses on scene. If possible, take pictures or video, and/or draw a diagram of the accident scene to assist with documentation of a claim. Keep a notepad, pencil, and a checklist of things to do after a collision in your glove compartment, just in case.

  • Call your insurer - Three in ten drivers (28%) incorrectly believe that if they are in an auto accident, they only need to report the incident to their insurance provider if their car has sustained significant damage. Most insurance policies require you to report any accident involving loss or damage to people or property. If you don't report an accident, it may affect your coverage down the road. If another driver involved reports the accident, their insurance company may contact your insurance provider, which could lead to cancellation or non-renewal of your policy if you have not reported the accident yourself.

    "Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to inform them of the accident, not only to cover yourself and your car, but for help with how to handle the situation," says Minor. "Your insurance provider can confirm all of the information you should be collecting from the other party. They can also offer a list of recommended repair shops in your area that can help with getting your vehicle back in shape even faster. Review your policy before repairs are made to make sure you understand the limitations of your coverage."

Visit the TD Insurance Learning Centre for more information about auto insurance.

About the TD Insurance Survey

TD Insurance commissioned Environics Research Group to conduct an online custom survey of 2,466 Canadians aged 18 and older, who have driven in the past 12 months. Responses were collected from February 7 to 18, 2013.

About TD Insurance

TD Insurance offers a wide range of products to help protect clients from the 'accidents of life' including credit protection, auto, home, health, life, and travel insurance.  With more than 3 million clients, TD Insurance authorized products and services are available through a network of more than 1,150 TD Canada Trust branches, the Internet and telephone. For more information, visit www.tdinsurance.com

Image with caption: "Find yourself in a fender bender? What to do after an accident (CNW Group/TD Insurance)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130904_C4000_PHOTO_EN_30356.jpg

SOURCE: TD Insurance

For further information:

Caitie Wallman / Jessica Squibb
Paradigm Public Relations 
416-203-2223
cwallman@paradigmpr.cajsquibb@paradigmpr.ca 

Samson Yuen
TD Bank Group
416-308-8905
samson.yuen@td.com


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