What To Do If You Get Into An Accident On Vacation

When it comes to going on vacation you are focused on the joy to come with your loved ones.  At Millars we try to forearm you with useful information that protects against unexpected legal issues and risks.

Most people drive when they go on vacation…But many don’t know the rules governing driving in a foreign land OR what the countries insurance and police reporting procedures are.

If you plan to drive it is probably a good idea to get a little background information before you go.  If you are involved in a car accident and are injured this information could be very useful.

First of all, let us see if the country you are going to is safe to drive in.

The following are the 5 safest and most dangerous countries in the world to drive in:


We don’t recommend you drive in dangerous countries with unstable politics and police forces.  Local guides are a must.  For Canadians, the most likely issue they will have is driving in the US or in the Caribbean.  Getting into a car accident outside of Canada can be complicated.

If you are traveling to the United States here is a list of the 10 safest and most dangerous States to drive in.

The 10 Safest States For Drivers:

  1. Massachusetts: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .048
  2. Rhode Island: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .049
  3. New York: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .052
  4. New Jersey: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .062
  5. Washington: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .064
  6. Minnesota: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .066
  7. Hawaii: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .066
  8. Connecticut: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .069
  9. Vermont: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .070
  10. New Hampshire: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .071

The 10 Most Dangerous States For Drivers:

  1. North Dakota: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .256
  2. New Mexico: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .203
  3. Montana: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .186
  4. Mississippi: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .184
  5. Wyoming: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .178
  6. Oklahoma: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .171
  7. Alabama: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .169
  8. South Carolina: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .168
  9. South Dakota: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .158
  10. Louisiana: Total Fatalities per 1000 Drivers: .158

If you get into a car accident in the U.S. thankfully our laws are comparable- for the most part.  Police reporting procedures are similar and most insurance policies apply across the border.  You don’t need an International Drivers Permit in most English speaking countries (and definitely not in the U.S.). But it is important to ask if the country you are traveling to requires one. For example, in the

For example, in the Caribbean, many countries do require one and you don’t want to get into an accident without one.

For the most part, it is a tax grab….so what can you do?

Learn About Your EXISTING Coverage

Did you know that credit card companies often provide legal services overseas?

Before any trip to another country, we always recommend you review your insurance and coverage.  Many travelers buy unnecessary travel insurance because they don’t know what coverage they already have.  For example, if you have a credit card it is very likely all the travel insurance you need is on the card (if you bought tickets or a hotel with it).

Call your credit card company before you go and figure out how much insurance you have. By calling, you could figure out what else you are covered for and what the reporting procedures are, in case you get into trouble.

What to Do At The Scene Of The Accident

Stay calm, take care of the injured and get off the road.  Once your immediate safety concerns are taken care of you can turn your mind towards protecting your financial interests.  Call the police, in non-English speaking countries ask for an interpreter and then do the following:

  • Make notes and take photos
  • Be aware that some police may want to look at your phone to see if you were texting, enough said
  • It’s a good idea to have a copy of your insurance on you in case someone wants it
  • Take a photo of the other driver’s license plate, license, and insurance
  • Call your insurance company back home and try to get someone on the phone to help for medical expenses and also to get a new car if required
  • There is never a need to apologize or admit liability because those statements can be used against you later, but be polite and cooperative
  • Get a copy of a police report if one is generated

In Europe, there is a standard European Accident Statement (EAS) available in a variety of languages, ensure this is filled out properly and keep a copy of it.

Car rental companies can be devious and try to get you to pay for things that you don’t have to. They will always try to sell you insurance that you don’t necessarily need, however, it makes it easier if you buy their policy if the unexpected occurs

If you are injured in the accident, be prepared to pay and collect reimbursement later.  It can be very difficult to make a claim in another country.  At Millars we have experience with claims in the US, especially Michigan and Florida. Being informed can make a huge difference in the amount of compensation you receive, but that is a conversation you should have after you have returned home safely.

It’s a good idea to know where the Canadian Embassy or consulate is in the country you are visiting, god forbid you are charged with a criminal offense, but it can happen, and it is a good idea to have a good law firm on speed dial, as well as a backup plan.

As always you can call us before you travel for insurance and legal questions, we would prefer that you don’t need our services and stay healthy, but when you do need a lawyer we know we have earned your trust beforehand.

Contact us today for any legal concerns: 519-657-1LAW or info@ml-dev.thirdeyeinsights.ca


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