What to do if you’ve had a car accident

14 June 2022

You don’t know how stressful having a car accident is — whether it’s just a fender bender or something more serious — until you’ve had one. But knowing what to do can help reduce the stress a little, by ensuring the incident is dealt with properly.

Make sure everyone is safe

The safety of everyone after an accident is paramount. In an emergency, call 000 for ambulance and police assistance; especially if someone is injured, there’s major damage or the road is blocked.

You should also make sure you’re in a safe location away from traffic. Move your car out of the way and off the road if possible, then turn off the engine and switch your hazard lights on.

Exchange details with the other party


It’s important to keep your emotions in check – regardless of who’s at fault. You should exchange the following details with the other driver(s):

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Registration number
  • Insurance details

Useful information you should also record:

  • Date, time and location of the accident
  • Name, address and phone number of any witnesses
  • Photos of the crash site and damage to cars or property

Report the accident

To the police

The criteria for when it’s necessary to report a car accident to the police varies from state to state, however there are some universal situations when police attendance is required:

  • Someone is trapped, injured or killed
  • A party fails to stop and exchange details
  • A driver appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • There are hazards present. For example, a blocked road or significant debris, leaking fluids, structural damage to property, and so on.

To your insurer

Contact your insurer as soon as possible so that your recollection of the accident is still fresh. Also, depending on your car insurance policy, you may have some form of vehicle towing coverage, if required. With a GIO Car Insurance policy you may also be covered for emergency repairs, up to $1,000.

The sooner you commence the claims process, the sooner we can get you back on the road.

How to make a claim after an accident

Regardless of who was at fault, the process is the same for making a claim on your policy. Simply head to GIO Claims below and select your policy from the dropdown list or make a claim through the GIO App.

Once you provide details about the incident, we can assess your claim. The outcome of your claim can depend on who was at-fault and whether or not they have insurance. A few possible scenarios are outlined below. 

If someone is injured, you may need to make a Compulsory Third Party (CTP) or Motor Accident Injuries (MAI) Insurance claim. Time limits apply, so it’s best to make a claim as soon as you can following your accident. Don’t worry, our Claims Advisors are here to help.


GIO Claims

When you're the at-fault driver

If you’re at fault for an incident involving your vehicle, the outcome of your claim can depend on the type of insurance policy you have with us.

All of our car insurance policies cover the costs of repairs to the other driver’s car if you, or someone you authorise to drive your car, is at fault and the incident occurs while your policy is active. Third Party Property Damage might only cover the costs of repairs to the other driver’s car, not your own. GIO Platinum and Comprehensive covers, however, can cover damage to your own vehicle. There are conditions and things we don’t cover though; to learn more, check out your policy documents

When you're the not-at-fault driver and the other driver isn’t insured

GIO Platinum and Comprehensive car insurance policies cover accidental damage caused by another driver if that driver is uninsured. Fire Theft & Third Party Property Damage and Third Party Property Damage can too, but only for up to $5,000. A couple of other conditions also apply:

  • The driver of your car didn’t contribute in any way to the incident. In other words, it was entirely the other driver’s fault.
  • You can provide us with the at-fault driver’s name, address and registration number.

If you’re not at fault in an incident, and you can show this with a police report, expert report, photographs/video or witness statements, then your excess may be waived when you make a claim. You will need to provide the at-fault driver’s name and address, and registration number.

For full guidance on what your policy covers you for when you’re not at fault in an incident, check out your policy documents.

When your car is no longer driveable

If your car needs towing, major repairs, or is a write-off, your costs depend on what policy you have with us and who was at fault during the incident.

Our different car insurance policies offer a variety of covers in case your car is not driveable or has been stolen. These range from towing services through to hire car and even new car replacement. It all depends what policy you have with us. To find out what we cover under different policy types, check out your policy documents. 

If someone was injured

If someone is injured in an incident involving your vehicle, costs related to the injury — such as medical costs and coverage for lost income — can be covered by Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance. This is known as a Green Slip in some states, and in the ACT similar coverage is provided by MAI (Motor Accident Injuries) Insurance. These policies either come as part of your registration fees, or must be taken out separately, depending on the state or territory in which you live.

If you’re injured in a road accident, you can make a claim either through the insurer you have CTP with, or with the relevant body that deals with this. For instance, Victorians can make a claim with the Transport Accident Commission.

Want to know more? Find answers to your CTP questions. 

Find coverage that suits you

Car accidents can occur at any time, which is why knowing what to do in advance and having a simple process in place can help you confidently deal with the situation. Ensure you have the right coverage for your needs by getting a free quote below.


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Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO Insurance. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Conditions, exclusions and limits apply. The Target Market Determination is also available.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.