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I’ve had an accident that was my fault – now what?



Any car accident comes with stress, uncertainty and often financial costs. However, if you’ve been in a car accident that was your fault, things can be even more distressing. If you’re wondering what happens now you can follow our tips on what to do if you caused a car accident. Find out police procedure after a car accident, what insurance details you need to give after an accident, and if you can drive your car after an accident in the UK.

Immediately after a car accident you can follow this car accident procedure.

  • Find a safe place to pull over if possible, put on your hazards and switch off the engine and take the keys from the ignition.
  • If anyone involved requires medical aid call 999.
  • If the road is blocked call 999.
  • If you think the other driver is under the influence of drugs, alcohol or they are uninsured or deliberately driving recklessly call 999.
  • Remain calm and do not be aggressive.
  • Get photos of the incident and the registrations of the cars involved.
  • Exchange details with the other party such as ID, insurance details and contact details.
  • Make note of any injuries to protect against false claims later.
  • Do not admit liability until you have spoken with your insurance.
  • Notify police within 24 hours if only a minor incident.

The car accident my fault, what happens now?

If you’ve been in an accident and you are convinced that you are at fault, either partially or entirely, you should inform your insurance company as soon as possible. It is important to be as honest as possible and give as much detail as you can around the incident. This can make your claim go more smoothly and also help your insurance more accurately determine who’s at fault.
Liability isn’t always clear cut and as a result it is important to inform your insurance over all the details so they can best act on your behalf when dealing with the other party’s insurer.
If there are police involved in the incident then again be as accurate and honest as possible as any evidence from a police report will also be evaluated by your insurance when determining fault.

If you’re not insured you must acquire a policy under UK law to legally drive with third party being the minimum acceptable coverage. Getting into an accident without insurance can seriously impact your finances as you won’t have any coverage and you’ll likely be penalised with fines and penalty points by the police.

Do I need to report a car crash to the police?

You should call 999 at the time of the accident if anyone needs medical help, if the road is blocked, or if you think the other driver has committed a road offence like driving under the influence, or driving recklessly. You don’t need to report a car crash to the police if you have exchanged insurance details and no one was injured or made driving offence allegations. However, if you could not exchange details, or there were injuries or offences you should report the collision online or at a police station within 24 hours.

What insurance details do I give in an accident?

After an accident you should exchange details with anyone involved in the accident. Some details to exchange include:

  • Your name, address and contact details
  • Your insurance details
  • Your car’s registration

When it comes to insurance details, you might share the insurer’s name or the policy number if you have it. Although often people do not know this without seeing the documents, so it can be a good idea to keep copies in the car.

What happens when I tell my insurance about an accident that was my fault?

What happens next will depend on the type of coverage you have with your insurer. If you have comprehensive cover and are at fault you will be able to claim on the damage done to your car as well as the other party’s vehicle. If you only have third party insurance and are at fault then only the damage to the other party’s vehicle will be covered.
Your insurance will then process the claim and do their own investigation over the incident along with the other party’s insurer. Insurance companies will usually try to come to a settlement between themselves and both insurers will try and support the account of their own client.
If you’ve admitted fault to your insurer then they have a legal obligation to cover the damages depending on you level of cover.

Can I drive my car after an accident?

This really depends your car is safe to drive or not. If you are in any doubt it could be a good idea to get it checked to make sure it is fit to drive. If there has been only minor damage and it is safe, you are free to drive off provided you have followed all the necessary points in the car accident procedure including exchanging your details.

Top tip

If you’ve made the claim with your insurance company and given them the relevant details of the accident as well as informing the police then there is nothing more for you to do. Your insurance will handle the process from here and contact you where necessary. The time this can take varies from days to weeks so the best thing to do is just leave it with your insurer. If you can afford it, it’s always advisable to get comprehensive insurance as this protects you from paying out your own pocket if the insurers don’t rule in your favour. Our comparison tool can help you find the right coverage for you.

The car accident was my fault will my insurance go up?

If you’ve been involved in an accident your premiums are likely to go up regardless if you are at fault or not. Having a no claims discount could help reduce the increase if you have this already in your policy. Also ask if you have an accident forgiveness clause in your policy as some insurers may ignore your first accident depending on the circumstances.

What if you’ve been involved in an accident without insurance?

Driving a vehicle you’re not insured to drive is illegal. If you are caught without insurance the police will issue you a £300 fixed penalty and 6 penalty points. If you’ve caused damage to other vehicles on the road you could loose your license and be liable for the damages to the other party if at fault. Even if you are not at fault you will be dealing with the other party’s insurer alone and this will likely make things difficult for you. If the case goes to court you could get an unlimited fine and loose your license.

Did you know…

Who is at fault in a car accident on a roundabout?

Under rule 185 of the Highway Code, oncoming traffic to the right is given right of way. This means If a car cuts in front of you to enter while you are already in the roundabout they will likely be at fault for any insurance claims.


If you’ve been involved in a crash that was your fault the best thing to do is let your insurance company handle the matter. You do not need to contact the other party once your insurance company has begun processing your claim. The type of insurance you have is a key factor in what damages you’ll be covered for. Telematics and black box insurance can be a useful way of lowering your premiums, particularly after the likely increase your provider will issue once you’ve been involved in an accident.

This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.