Accident Abroad – What Should You Do When You’re Traveling Solo?
Last July 2019, I was involved in a horrible car accident in North Pakistan. I was in the front seat beside the driver taking a nap until I heard a loud sound and felt that something punched my chest so hard. The airbag was there, and my left foot was stuck in the car, but I was able to pull it.
My driver was unconscious, and I wanted to help him, but I was so confused about what to do or what happened. Good thing people from another car came to help us and the ambulance was there in 15 minutes even if the area is remote.
Because of what happened, I realize that this post is essential. When traveling, sometimes things don’t go as planned. Accidents happen, and we don’t know when and where we might meet it, but it’s better safe than sorry.
So here are the things you should do when you get into an accident while traveling:
Step 1: Contact Emergency Hotlines
It would help if you had emergency hotlines of the country you are traveling from in case of emergencies. There are 911 in the USA and the Philippines or 999 for the UK. Report that there is an accident so if there are people injured; medical attention is received immediately. If there is a minor crash, then the police could make a report then you could go on your way.
Check if you and your companions are injured; if someone is seriously injured or unconscious. Don’t move him/her unless you know what to do (you are a nurse, doctor, first-aider). However, if it’s in a burning car, then get that person there ASAP.
Step 2: Take Photos
Take pictures of the scene and the vehicles involved. It will help you in claiming your insurance. Don’t move anything yet (like the vehicle) after taking pictures. Also, the police need to see them make the report.
Luckily, when I got into an accident, I was still conscious but in so much pain. Moreover, my instincts were to document what happened for proof of my claim for my travel insurance as it would probably be costly.
When you’re about to claim with your insurance, a lot of documents and information will be required.
Step 3: Exchange Information
If you were driving the car or another person cause you injury, then you need to get his/her information; insurance and identification. This would be helpful if you don’t have insurance but got injured; you can request reimbursement from them or their insurance company.
However, if both of you are not fine; don’t stress this out. If you are still conscious but the other party is not, but he has another companion, you can ask him/her for info. However, you can ask the police report. Don’t forget to list down the license plate of any other vehicle involved in the accident.
Step 4: Police Report
When the police arrive, they will interview all that were involved (if still conscious, of course) and witnesses. If he can’t provide you with a copy, then ask when and where you can get one. For claims, especially car insurance, they will need a police report as an attachment.
Get the officer’s name, badge number and where he is assigned to pick a copy of your police report.
Step 5: Contact your insurance company
Report to your insurance company after the accident ASAP. Call the number provided in your card or policy. It is also better to save their number in your phone and bring your insurance card with you at all times.
Please give them a brief description of what has happened to you. Stick to the facts and what you know. They will give you instructions on how to claim and what they can do to assist you. My travel insurance, SafetyWing, was swift in helping me.
If you have upcoming travels, but you won’t push through because of your accident, then inform the insurance company as they will reimburse you of your ticket costs or provide you with a ticket back home.
Step 6: File a Claim
Check if the insurance company has affiliated hospitals where you can get treatment.
- Present your insurance ID card or any proof (policy) to your medical provider at the time of service. Unless the provider is billing your insurance company directly, you will pay for treatment at the time of service.
- Collect all medical provider names, addresses, and invoices for your records.
- Complete and submit the Claimant’s Form or any other forms provided by your Insurance company along with all receipts and invoices. Keep a copy of the documents you have submitted.
- Submit additional requirements requested by the insurance company.
The insurance company I have, SafetyWing, handled all the medical costs, my flight ticket back to the UK and all the cost of my trip cancellation due to the accident. I’m glad to purchase one.
Step 7: Receive Reimbursement
If your claim has been reviewed or process, you may now get reimbursement from your insurance company the expenses you incurred. Some may send you a check; others will deposit in your online account.
If you are still recovering, it might take a while to receive all of your claims as you will again be sending some documents or additional bills.
If your claim is denied, you may check your insurance provider on how to appeal.
Step 8: Recover and Travel Again
Recover and follow the doctor’s orders. If you are not allowed to travel or do strenuous activities, then don’t as it might injure you more. If you need therapy, then book one.
My accident in Pakistan resulted in needing surgery for my foot; my insurance already paid for my surgery and medical expenses. I started my therapy so that I can walk again properly. I’m going to do my best so that I can get better and travel again.
We can’t predict when a mishap happens to us, so don’t let being in a bad situation stop or scare you from doing what you love. Don’t let a bad day define your whole year; good things and bad things may come but always look at the bright side.
From these, I will share some tips when it comes to traveling:
1. Always get travel insurance, never go abroad without one. It may cost you money but remember being in an accident will cost you more; might drain all your savings. The insurance I have used is Safety Wing, and they are accommodating, and I am certainly recommending them.
2. Read the terms, policy, or coverage of the insurance you are purchasing.
3. Keep a copy of your insurance policy an emergency contact person with you at all times. If you are going to end up unconscious, someone will go through your belongings to contact your loved ones so that they can provide information about you, e.g., medical history, allergies.
4. Keep a number of your insurance provider so that if an accident happens, they may be able to assist you. You might not be in the right mind to go through your e-mail or search the web, at least if something is wrong, then you can definitely ask them for help and may provide you an accredited hospital so you wouldn’t spend anything.
I hope this article would let you know what to do when you get into an accident while traveling. I hope you won’t because I’ve experienced being in it and the pain was just unbearable. Never-ever forget travel insurance as it will be a lifesaver. Keep safe and happy travels!
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