Car Insurance Claim
Should you need to make a new UK car insurance claim, you will find below all the necessary information and guidance required, from what you should do at the scene of an accident, through to settling the claim with your insurer. See also a free guide on making a UK car insurance claim from Citizens Advice.
At the Scene of an Accident
Never drive away from the scene, particularly if any other person or animal has been hurt or if any other vehicle or property has been damaged. If you are involved in an accident with another vehicle(s) make sure you obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any drivers, passengers or pedestrians involved in the accident together with details of witnesses. This information will be required when you make a car insurance claim.
You should also ask the drivers of other cars involved for the name of their insurance company and policy number, which they are obliged to supply under the Road Traffic Act. You must be prepared to show your Certificate of Motor Insurance to the police or anyone else involved in the accident, if anyone was injured or property damaged. Also never admit blame or liability for an accident or offer to make a payment for any damage caused.
Many insurers will ask you to provide a diagram of the accident scene. The diagram should show the position of the vehicles involved both before and after the accident and note the speeds, distances, road layout, road signs and any obstructions to your and other road users’ views. Also note where witnesses were standing. This will aid your claim.
Should your car and its property be stolen, inform the Police and your insurance company immediately. Make sure you keep all receipts (hands-free mobile phone, sat-nav systems etc.) and that you photocopy any correspondence that is associated with your claim.
The Claims Process
Every insurer will have a slightly different claims process. It is always advisable to brief yourself of the exact policy wording before an accident has occurred and your claim has been submitted. Within your policy documentation you will normally find a section entitled ‘what to do in the event of a claim’.
Keep safe all documents that are relevant to the claim, and make sure the staff of the insurance company can get in touch with you when necessary. Tell your insurer if anybody else has admitted blame. Most insurers will offer a 24/7 Free phone claims hotline that you need to use as a first port of call to report an incident. This will help protect your interests and that of your motor insurer. On occasions you may also need to fill out a claim form.
Dependant on the type of policy chosen i.e. third party / fully comprehensive etc., you can take advantage of your insurers recommended repairer scheme. This means the Insurer will already have arrangements with certain garage repair centres that they have approved. You may also be entitled to a courtesy car while your car is repaired.
If your submitted, legitimate claim has been rejected, there are circumstances where you may in fact have the legal right to be reimbursed for your loss even though the insurance company refused to pay the claim. Although you can sometimes make this judgement yourself, it is sometimes a good idea to get legal advice.
Paying the Excess
Excess must be paid no matter what damage occurs to your car, or for whatever reason the claim is made. You have to pay it because you have entered in to a legal contract where you have agreed to pay the initial amount of any insurance claim. If you were not at fault though, you can claim it back from the other party’s company.