A couple of months ago, I got into the worst car accident of my life. I was involved in a three-car collision, and I was sandwiched in the middle. Long story short, A four-wheel drive rammed into me from behind, and the impact was so strong that I hit the car in front of me despite the healthy gap between us. The front and back of my Myvi was totally destroyed, though I think it’s important to note that no glass shattered save for the lamps, and I escaped unscathed. But what happens next, especially when you can’t drive your car anymore?
Disclaimer: This is what I did, and it is by no means the only way to do things. It was a learning experience for me, and hopefully this will be able to help you if you ever need it, though I hope not.
The Car Crash
Let’s start off with some context. The accident happened at a junction past 8pm near my house, so I wasn’t too far away from home. I panicked though, because not only had someone hit me, but I had also hit another car. As I drove off to the side, I knew I was in big trouble because there was a terrible scratching noise. Later I would learn that some part of the back had moved and it was just at an angle where the tyre touched it, hence the noise when the car moved. I definitely panicked, though I tried my best to make myself stay calm.
Assessing the Damage
At a glance, the front and back of my car was smashed in. The back took the brunt of it. The front fared slightly better, though my radiator was destroyed. Some of the lights were smashed, though thankfully the windscreen and windows were okay. I couldn’t open some of the doors as well as the car was essentially compressed. Like I said, I was sandwiched in the middle. Since I knew I couldn’t drive the car, I started making calls.
Who Should You Call?
- Your go-to contact: Your husband, wife, parents, best friend, whoever… it’s not so much a should, but these are the people who you know can and will offer you help if you need it. I called my mum, who called my uncle, who’s a mechanic. If you call someone it’s easier to note down the estimated time of the accident as well, which comes in handy if you need to make a police report.
- A tow truck: This is if your vehicle is in such bad shape that you can’t drive it anymore. It helps if you have a contact, otherwise, you can call…
- Your insurance company’s toll-free number: Most insurance companies provide a sticker alongside your road tax, so if you use that sticker, the number should be there. They should be able to help you out with a tow truck contact as well as a list of panel workshops if you’re sending your car to one.
This should cover it, but I only made one call to my mum. After she called my uncle, he called his tow truck contact. Both my mum and uncle showed up to the scene to wait for the tow truck. And this is where it gets tricky. Unsolicited tow trucks might surround you like sharks scenting blood in the sea, and it’s scarily impressive how they manage to track you down. The general rule of thumb here is to reject them politely and say you’ve called a tow truck. Otherwise, I’ve heard that they might charge you an arm and a leg.
Take pictures of your car, their car, anything. Getting the car registration numbers in the picture will be helpful as well, and it doesn’t hurt to exchange contact numbers with the others who are involved in the accident as well. These pictures will be handy as proof and help you make an accurate police report, although the police may not necessarily ask you for the pictures.
Making a Police Report
Information you need:
- Time of accident
- The street name/specific location of where the accident took place
- Which police station to make your report at based on where the accident happened
- Car registration numbers of the other vehicles involved in the accident if applicable
I didn’t know that there’s a specific police station you have to go to; I always thought that you could just go to the nearest one. Apparently, if the one you go to isn’t the “right” police station, they’ll refer you. For me, it was in Seksyen 9, Shah Alam, and this is a brief rundown of my experience.
- Locate the traffic counters within the traffic block (the police headquarters was huge)
- Fill up a basic form with details like name, IC number, location of accident, car registration numbers of other vehicles if applicable etc. – the police will guide you if you say “accident”
- Return the form to the officer on duty and wait for your name to be called
- Be asked a series of questions designed to help the officer craft a report
- State as clearly and as objectively as possible what happened, including where you were coming from, going to, and how the accident happened
- The officer will ask you to check the report. Once you confirm, it will be printed out and signed by both yourself and the officer
- Wait some more – a sergeant needs to approve the police report and you’ll be shepherded in a group to the offices – it’s a little like getting sent to the headmaster’s office if I’m being honest
I had an “abnormal” experience though. I went in to the offices, waited, and let’s just say the sergeant didn’t see me at all. Instead, another officer simply made photocopies of my IC and license, and told me to get a copy of my police report.
Getting the Police Report:
- Staff at the counter was confused because the report wasn’t approved by a sergeant – I had to tell them that I was literally following orders
- You have to purchase the report, each copy is RM2
- Wait for 14 working days (not including Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays), and return to collect your results
Apparently, you’re also supposed to tow/drive your vehicle to the police station so that their official photographer can take photos of the vehicle, but I also somehow skipped this step and no one asked me to bring my vehicle to the station – it got towed straight to the panel workshop.
Look, even I’m not clear on this, because most of everyone says that as long as you hit someone/something, you’re at fault and therefore will lose your NCD. My mum insists that that’s not the case, and the insurance company will look at all police reports before making a decision. I’m not here to debate. I’m just here to share what you need when you’re submitting a claim:
- Insurance claim form
- A copy of the police report
- A photocopy of your insurance policy/cover note
- A photocopy of your vehicle registration card (front/back)
- A photocopy of the insured’s IC and driving license
- A photocopy of the driver’s IC and driving license
The panel workshop should be able to help you with this, and once they give you a list, it should be pretty straightforward.
After that, it’s basically a waiting game. As you wait for your car to be repaired, you can also file a claim for loss of use of vehicle. I don’t know the exact amount myself or if it varies from vehicle to vehicle or company to company, but you can look into it and check with your insurance agent or the panel workshop for further details.
Please stay safe on the roads, and I really hope that you won’t need this guide ever.
All images are stock images, none of them are my own.
Also, remember to take care of yourself in other ways: