How to Report an Auto Insurance Claim

SPIN: Four steps to follow after a car accident

Would you know exactly what to do if you had an automobile accident? Should you call the police? What information do you need to collect?

"There are four words to remember if you've had an auto accident," says Robert Manson, Sr. Vice President of carinsurance.ca. "They spell the word SPIN: Safety, Police, Information, Notify."

Step 1: Safety

  • Make sure everybody is safe
  • Make sure your vehicle is safe from further damage
  • Turn on your hazard lights

Tip: Carry reflective cones, triangle or flares in your car to ensure other cars have advance warning if there is a hazard.

Step 2: Police

No matter where a car accident happens in Ontario:

Always call the police if: You don't need to report to the police if:
  • Somebody is injured
  • You think a driver may be guilty of a crime, such as drunk driving
  • You think it may be a staged accident (i.e. caused purposely to create a claim)
Damage to all cars is under $1,000

Depending where the automobile accident happens, you may need to report to police through a Collision Reporting Centre:

Areas where Collision Reporting Centres are available No injuries (Report to a Collision Reporting Centre) Total damage to cars is over $1,000 (Report to a Collision Reporting Centre)
Elsewhere in Ontario, if there are no Collision Reporting Centres Always call the police, unless damage to all cars is under $1,000

Step 3: Information

  • Do not:
    • Admit fault
    • Promise to cover any costs or accept any money
    • Agree to "forget about it"
  • Do record:
    • Each vehicle owner's name, address and driver's license number
    • Each vehicle's license plate
    • Year, make and model of each vehicle involved
    • Each vehicle's insurance company name and policy number
    • Witness contact information
    • Names and badge numbers of emergency personnel
    • Notes describing the accident in your own words
  • If possible, sketch or photograph the scene

Step 4: Notify

  • Contact your insurance broker or insurance company as soon as possible after the accident to file a complete claim.

Knowing and remembering "SPIN" can help reduce some of the worry of having a car accident.