Accident and Fraud Prevention Checklist
Having an accident is often a very stressful, emotional situation. Multiple people can be involved and many
things can happen very quickly. To help ensure the circumstances of the accident are accurately recorded,
we suggest you use the following checklist. To aid you to accurately record the facts, we also suggest you
keep a fresh, disposable camera in your vehicle and take pictures of:
the vehicle damage to all involved vehicles
license plates of all involved vehicles
drivers, passengers and witnesses
any identification and insurance documents
Note: Use your cell phone camera if another camera is not available.
Be sure to contact your insurance agent or broker as soon as possible to report the claim.
Tend to the injured, and summon rescue personnel (EMS, fire dept. etc.) if necessary.
If no one is injured, move vehicles out of traffic lanes or onto the shoulder. If they cannot be moved,
activate your four-way flashers and/or set up flares if available.
Never drive your vehicle away from the scene if it is unsafe.
Notify the Police:
Call police from the accident scene even though they may not respond to the scene unless there are
If the police do respond to the scene, be sure to tell them how the accident occurred so the details are
recorded on the police report. Note: Avoid speaking to others at the scene regarding the facts of the loss,
and do not accept or admit fault as all circumstances involved in causing the accident may not be known
at this point.
Check your state requirements if any additional accident reports should be made to the DMV etc.
Information concerning the other vehicle(s):
Ask for all of the other vehicles’ insurance certificates, and write down (a picture can be taken of the
certificate) the insurance information for all vehicles involved (owner, company, policy number, expiration
date, etc.).If the certificate is not available, obtain as much insurance information as you can, verbally.
Ask for all other vehicles’ registrations, and write down (a picture can be taken of the registration) the
vehicle’s identifying information (make, model, color) and license plate numbers and vehicle identification
number (VIN) if possible. If the registration is not available, obtain as much of the vehicle information as
you can, verbally.
Is the other vehicle registered to someone other than the driver at the time of the accident? If so, is the
other vehicle a rental?
Write down or take a picture of all other vehicles’ public VIN (often visible through the windshield in the
corner of the dashboard of the driver’s side).
Note any damage to the other vehicle that may have been caused by your vehicle (take pictures).
Did the other vehicle have signs of pre-existing/other damage?
Is the damage to the other vehicle consistent with your vehicle striking it?
Information concerning others involved in the accident:
Note exactly how many other people are in the other vehicle (take pictures).
Make a determined effort to note who was driving the other vehicle.
Obtain contact information for all involved (name, address, telephone numbers). This includes any
If there is a witness, do they seem overly eager to be involved?
Ask for the drivers’ licenses of all parties involved and write down (a picture may be taken of the licenses)
names, addresses, dates of birth, height, weight, hair and eye color, gender, driver’s license number and
expiration date. If the licenses are not available, obtain as much information as you can, verbally.
Note if the provided driver’s license information physically matches the individual providing it.
Write down who was driving and if possible write down (by name) the position of each person in the
vehicle (e.g. Bob Smith was in the front passenger seat. John Jones was the driver).
Did the parties in the other vehicles appear to know one another or to be strangers to each other?
Note if anyone appears injured at the scene and what injuries are apparent.
Note the type of injuries (neck pain, back pain, broken bones, lacerations, etc.). If possible, identify by
name the person’s specific injury (e.g. Bob Smith is complaining of a hurt neck. John Jones is complaining
of back pain).
Did any of the injured parties refuse medical treatment at the scene?
Information concerning the scene:
Note conditions (with pictures if possible) at the scene (weather, road surface and condition, visibility,
amount of traffic, etc.)
Note layout of scene (traffic controls, number of lanes, direction of traffic, etc.)
Drawing a scene diagram may be of some assistance if another camera is not available.
Information concerning the accident circumstances (this information should be provided to the
police if they respond or when the police report is made):
Were there other vehicles involved in the accident that did not remain at the scene?
What do you believe caused the accident (why did your vehicle strike the other vehicle)?
Did you notice the other vehicle’s occupants doing anything unusual prior to the accident (repeatedly
looking out their back window, gesturing to other vehicles, etc.)?
What You Should Know Before You Tow
Insurance policies vary on the dollar amounts available for towing your vehicle. NICB recommends you
review your towing coverage during every policy renewal or purchase and know what towing coverage
your policy provides.
If after an accident or breakdown your vehicle cannot be driven, you will be anxious to have a towing
company move your vehicle to a repair facility or other location. In these stressful situations, you may
inadvertently give permission to a towing company (to move your vehicle) whose fees are far beyond
your policy coverages. By “giving permission,” you have unknowingly agreed to the fees and may be
personally responsible for paying them. These fees can be hundreds of dollars.
NICB suggests the following to help prevent you from becoming involved with tow operators (many of
whom appear at traffic accidents before their services are requested) that charge excessive fees.
Never give permission to a tow truck operator who arrives unsolicited to take your vehicle.
If you or law enforcement did not call a tow truck to the scene, do not deal with that operator.
Do not provide tow truck operators with your insurance information.
Do not provide tow truck operators with personal lien holder information.
Determine that the tow truck signage is identical to what appears on any documentation the
tow truck operator provides (they may say they “work with” your insurance company).
If the tow truck does not display signage identifying the name of the tow company, ask for company
If a tow operator’s legitimacy is in doubt, call the police.
Do not give a tow truck operator permission to tow your vehicle until they:
* Provide a printed price list, to include daily storage fees and miscellaneous charges
that will apply if they tow your car (If the prices seems too high, ask or call the police or
your insurance company to call a towing service for you).
* Provide printed documentation indicating where the vehicle is being towed if it is not a
location of your choosing.
While our focus is to prevent insurance fraud, NICB is more concerned with your personal safety.
There have been some instances around the country where tow operators have become belligerent
with accident victims who challenge or question their intentions. A legitimate tow operator will satisfy
your concerns; an illegitimate one will not.
If the tow operator becomes agitated, do not persist. Contact your insurance company as soon as
possible and report the incident.