Being in a car accident is a frightening experience, and it can feel much worse when you are overseas. Getting into trouble on foreign roads can make you panic, unsure about your next course of actions and the language barrier can only make things worse. Being involved in a car accident demands immediate action and not knowing what to do can put you in danger. Your immediate priorities are listed below, and depending on where you are and what kind of insurance coverage you have, this guide is here to help you know what to expect and what steps to take to lessen the impact of an unpleasant car accident.
Check for injuries
The most unfortunate thing that can happen during a car accident is a serious injury. Once both vehicles have come to a stop, the first thing you should do is to check whether you or anyone involved is injured. You should never attempt to move any injured bodies. Instead, call for an ambulance. Be sure to have on hand all the emergency hotline numbers before travelling overseas.
Call the police
It’s a good thing if no one is injured. But you should still call the local police and make a report. This is especially important if there is a hit-and-run, damage to government property or if a pedestrian/cyclist is involved. All uninjured parties should stay at the accident site until the police arrive.
While waiting for the police, take photos and video of the scene before anything is moved. Do not move your vehicles until you’ve got the photos as this will provide a record of the original accident scene. You may need these to substantiate your account of the accident, especially if the other driver was at fault and you want to pursue the matter. Take photos of the entire scene, as well as close-up pictures of the vehicle damage. If you don’t have a camera or mobile phone on hand, you should make a sketch of the accident scene for reporting later.
Other evidence you should collect at the accident site includes the car plate number, personal details and contact number of the other parties involved. If there is a language barrier and you are unable to communicate with the other parties, at least make sure they stay on site until the police arrive.
Need a Tow?
If your accident happens in a geographical location that is within DirectAsia’s coverage, we will arrange towing for you if your car is undrivable. You will pay the service provider and make an insurance claim.
In terms of insurance claims, there are 2 possible scenarios here:
You are driving your Singapore-registered car
If you are driving your Singapore-registered car into Malaysia and have unfortunately met with a car accident there, you will be covered under your car insurance with DirectAsia on the condition that the location is within our coverage. You can find this under “where we cover you” in your policy documents.
If you fall under this category, simply contact DirectAsia and follow the correct procedures according to our customer service advisor. They will advise you on whether to claim under your own policy or to try to negotiate a private settlement. They might also be able to help you to get towing services or arrange transport back to Singapore if needed.
You are driving a rental car overseas
If you have rented a car for your holidays, you will most likely be asked to take up a rental car insurance with your rental provider. This means that you will not be covered under DirectAsia’s car insurance. However, some of our travel insurance plans provide for rental car excess coverage – “We will pay for any excess or deductible you become legally liable to pay, up to the limit in the summary of limits, for loss or damage to a rental car from a licensed rental agency overseas during the insured trip, which arises from collision or theft.”
With a travel insurance, you could also be covered for certain medical expenses resulting from an accident or for an emergency medical evacuation.
Nobody wants to be involved in a car accident, especially when one is in a foreign land. This is why it is important to know what to do in the event that one happens so that you can be sure of what coverage you are entitled to. Most importantly, always remember to have yourself covered with a comprehensive car and travel insurance so that you leave nothing to chance!