It doesn’t matter where you are. Car accidents happen.
In fact, around the world, 1.2 million people are killed in road crashes every year. And that’s only the fatalities. Millions more people get injured and require medical attention.
It’s the last thing you want when you’re traveling or on vacation. But, as the numbers show, accidents overseas occur on a fairly regular basis. What do you do in the immediate aftermath?
Indeed, it’s difficult to think clearly in the chaos and stress that follows. Emotions run high and it’s easy to forget something important. It’s sometimes even harder to know exactly how to respond in a foreign country, with novel laws and procedures.
We wanted to help.
Keep reading for a full guide on what to do after having a car accident abroad.
7 Steps to Properly Dealing with a Car Accident Abroad
Driving in foreign countries isn’t always easy. Accidents happen. Here’s exactly what to do if you’re in one.
Prior to the Accident: Get Prepared
Want to know the best way to deal with an accident abroad? Be prepared for it to happen before it actually does.
Now, that’s no good to you if you’re reading this having just had one. For you guys, skip ahead to the following tips. However, for everyone else, be sure to practice good due diligence before your trip.
1. Sort Out Insurance
Having insurance is essential.
But it’s one thing to get travel insurance for your trip.
It’s another to be sure the policy offers international cover for road accidents. You need to be certain that you can claim for losses, injuries, and damages that occur. Otherwise, don’t drive while you’re abroad.
Every year there are horror stories of life-threatening incidents that occur overseas that leave the individual burdened with enormous medical bills too. Many people opt against the cost of insurance. But it isn’t worth the risk. Sort it out in advance and pay for complete cover.
2. Have the Correct Documentation
The right documentation will help you deal with any accident that happens.
Carry your passport, driver’s license, insurance details (including the number to call) and rental car information. Keep all of the above with you in the car at all times. You never know when you’ll need it.
Speak to a car accident lawyer before you go to ensure you have everything you need.
Oh, and be sure to have a copy of the emergency services number for the country you’re in. Remember, it isn’t always 911! Know what to call if there’s an issue and have a phone that you know works wherever you are.
After an Accident Happens
There can be few things more terrifying than a car accident overseas. Here’s what to do when they happen.
3. Check Personal Safety
Like any accident, your health (and that of your passengers) is of primary concern.
Take a second after the accident to check the wellbeing of everyone inside the vehicle. Your ability to respond will be determined by your welfare. Be sure to call the emergency services as soon as you can.
In remote places that might be harder. But do what you can to attract attention. Hopefully, there will be other people around to help. Flag down other cars if you need to.
And get to a hospital. Having a medical report can prove vital if you’re to make a successful insurance claim.
4. Check the Environment
If you’re well enough to do so, then now it’s time to respond to your surroundings.
Check if anyone else involved in the accident requires support. You may have collided with another vehicle. The people inside may need help.
Likewise, look around you to decide if the area is safe. Prevent further accidents by cordoning off the area or using your hazard lights to alert other drivers to the problem. Only do what’s safe though. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Wait for the police or emergency services.
5. Swap Details
Your insurer is likely to require particular information to cover your accident.
Given that you and everyone else is safe, then try to collect information from the other drivers. Their names, license plate number, driving license number, insurance company and policy number are all basic information to try and get. Ask for the contact information of any witness as well.
It pays to know your policy beforehand. Have a solid understanding of what you need to provide. Remembering it all is easier said than done though. Do the best you can.
6. Acquire Photographic Evidence
Photos will be helpful as evidence when making your claim.
After all, there’s nothing like an image to prove what happened.
If you can, then spend some time taking pictures of everything possible. Pay close attention to the damage to the vehicle, the location, and the other cars involved, and so on. Be sure to ask the police for a copy of their report too.
7. Contact Necessary Parties
Contact your insurer as soon as you can.
They’ll be able to walk you through what to do. You might also be sent a truck to tow your vehicle away or have recommendations for appropriate medical support.
Hired a rental car? Then you’ll need to contact them too. Inform them of the incidence and ask what they need you to do.
Time to Wrap Up
There you have it: 7 things you should do it you’re in a car accident abroad.
No-one wants to have an accident when they’re overseas. It’s the last thing you need when you’re trying to enjoy a vacation. However, nonetheless, millions of them occur each year.
Whether it’s a tourist on a vacation, a backpacker on a world trip, a business person going on a conference, everyone needs to know what to do when the worst happens overseas.
Hopefully, the information we’ve provided here will help you navigate the challenge. Keep the advice in mind and all should be well.
Did you like this piece? Do you still want to travel? Click here to find out the 10 travel destinations with the best USD exchange rate.