Steps to take after a car accident to file a claim


If you’ve ever been in an accident, you’ll know how overwhelming it can be. Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget what needs to be done to file a successful insurance claim. One of the major reasons to have insurance in the first place is to protect yourself from the costs of an accident, so try to keep your cool and follow these essential steps. They’ll help you get the support you need from your insurer.


4 steps to take after you’ve been in a car accident

Step 1: Stay calm and collected

Right after an accident, it’s normal to feel shaken up, anxious, or even angry. However, it’s essential that you stay cool and collected in the moment. Take a deep breath and assess the situation. 

First things first: make sure that everyone involved is safe and unhurt. Lend a hand to anyone who needs it and call emergency services to attend to any injuries if necessary.

Step 2: Contact the police

After you’ve ensured the safety of all parties involved, it is advisable to contact the police. If the situation is not hostile, you can exchange information with the other driver. Be sure to collect details of their driving licence, vehicle number plate and licence disc. 

If the other driver is hostile or leaves the scene, try to record their number plate, so that you can include it in an accident report to the police and your insurer. Accurate information is vital at this stage as it will be required to file your insurance claim.

Step 3: Take photographs whenever possible

Make sure to take some pictures of the scene after the accident. Take images of the damage to both vehicles and any other factors that could have contributed to the accident, like potholes or other objects. These photos are important when filing an insurance claim, as they help provide a clear picture of what happened.


Do not admit any guilt or negotiate any settlement on the scene

Try to take shots from different angles and get the full extent of the damage. You might even want to take a video clip. Don’t forget to take photos of any injuries and note any medical attention received. These details are needed when submitting your insurance claim.

Step 4: Report the accident and file a claim

When you’ve gathered all the important information and reported the accident to the police (see below), contact your insurance company as soon as possible. The sooner you report the incident, the better. The details will be fresh in your mind and you can provide your insurer with all the necessary information, including any injuries and evidence collected. The quicker you report, the faster your claim can be processed, and you can receive your payout. Act promptly.


Filing the insurance claim

The process of filing a car insurance claim will differ between providers. If you are covered by Nedbank, the process is simple:

  1. Call 0861 262 636 or use the Nedbank Money app to submit your claim anytime, anywhere.
  2. Send all the required documents to
  3. Nedbank will assess your claim and request additional information if needed.
  4. If your claim is valid, it will be processed and you will be notified of the outcome.


Reporting a vehicle accident

The South African Police Service advises that if you’re involved in an accident, it’s important to report it to a police officer at a police station or a designated office for traffic officers, like the metro police. You’ll need to show your driving licence and provide your identity number, as well as any other information required by law. This is mandated by section 61 of the National Road Traffic Act, 93 of 1996.

A road accident must be reported in person and cannot be reported over the telephone or by a third party. Take all necessary steps to ensure that the accident is reported promptly and accurately.


What to do if the other person doesn’t have insurance 

Do not admit any fault to the other party or negotiate any settlement. If you are insured comprehensively, this is your insurer’s responsibility. Handle the situation in the same way, following all the steps above. 

If possible, gather witness statements and contact details from anyone who saw the accident. Even if the other driver does not have insurance, if they caused the accident, they are still responsible for any damage they caused.


What to do if the other person has insurance

Again, do not admit any guilt or negotiate any settlement on the scene. You can claim directly from the other person’s insurance. To do so, you will need a letter from your insurer stating that you will not claim directly from your insurer – instead you will pursue the matter directly with the other person. 

You can pursue legal action against the other driver to recover the cost of damages, but this can be a lengthy and expensive process. That’s why we always recommend having comprehensive insurance coverage, as it can protect you from these types of situations. Even if the other driver is found to be at fault, they may not have the financial means to pay for the damages, which is why insurance is so important.