The world of car insurance can be confusing at the best of times, but knowing what to do when you are faced with having to make a claim can be even more confusing. That’s where we like to keep things simple. Read the Budget Blog today where we answer some of your questions about making a car insurance claim!
What do I do if I am involved in a car accident?
Stop, turn your engine off and your hazard lights on
If you are involved in a car accident the first thing you need to do is stop where it is safe to do so, turn off your engine and turn your hazard lights on. The rule is that no matter how small the accident you must, by law STOP the car as soon as it is safe to do so. If it is safe to get out of the car, get you and your passengers to safety. If your car is blocking a road or could be potentially dangerous to other road users or pedestrians, call the police immediately.
Check everyone is okay and call the emergency services
Is anyone hurt? If it is safe to do so check both/all vehicles to see if anyone requires medical attention. Additionally, if you suspect that another driver is under the influence, call the police immediately. If there is a perceived risk of fire or someone appears to be stuck in their vehicle, call the fire brigade immediately.
Exchange details with the other party/s involved
You are legally required to leave your contact details with the other party when you are involved in a car accident. This also includes the instance where you hit a parked car or property (e.g. garden wall or garage door). You will need to exchange/ leave the following details:
- Full name
- Postal address
- Telephone number
- Car registration number
- Time and date of the accident
- Insurance provider name
- The name and telephone numbers of any passengers and witnesses
- A brief summary of the occurrence
If you find yourself in the position where your vehicle is hit and the other driver attempts to drive off; try and jot down/ remember as much of their registration plate as you can.
The more information you have, the better. This will help you when raising a claim with your insurance company. It is worth noting the following:
- Time and date of accident
- Photo evidence of the damage caused to your vehicle
- Photo evidence of the damage caused to the other party’s vehicle
- A note of the other vehicle’s make, model, colour and registration plate
- A note of the weather conditions, was there water on the road? Sun glare?
- A note of any injuries sustained by any passengers, pedestrians and drivers
How do I raise a claim on my car insurance?
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position where you need to make a claim on your car insurance policy you will need to contact your insurance provider within 24 hours of the accident and provide them with the following information:
- Your full name, address, date of birth and policy number (also any other security question info that you have noted with your insurance provider)
- The time, date and address of the accident
- The full names and contact details of the other involved parties as well as a note of their insurance providers
- Full details of the accident including contact details of any witnesses, the weather and road conditions
You must provide your insurance provider with an accurate picture and all of the facts of the accident that you are aware of. Withholding information or telling the story incorrectly could result in your claim not being paid or, even worse, you could be charged with insurance fraud.
When you report the accident with your car insurance provider, you will be asked if you wish to make a claim on your car insurance policy. If you say yes, your provider will either send you a claims form by post, request that you print one off or login to a secure claims portal to evidence your claim information.
What will happen after I raise a claim on my car insurance?
Once you have raised a claim with your car insurance provider, they will take all of the information provided away with them and assess the claim with the other involved party.
You should expect to wait a while before you hear back about your claim. It’s never a straightforward process as evidence needs to be collected from both sides and liability accepted.
If your car was damaged as a result of the accident, your car insurance provider will either send out a claims assessor to you or you will be asked to deliver your vehicle to a specific garage to have the damage assessed. You will then be given a list of approved garages who will fix your car. Do not get your car fixed before it has been assessed by your insurance provider, this will invalidate the claim.
If your vehicle is written off, your car insurance claim will either pay out a sum equal to the vehicles value before it was damaged, pay out an agreed value, although this is more likely for classic car insurance. Some insurance providers may even reimburse the cost of a new vehicle if your vehicle is less than 12 months old. Timescales will be provided by your insurance provider and depending on your policy, a courtesy car may be provided, you will need to check this with your insurance provider when you call to raise the claim.
Do I need to pay my excess if the claim wasn’t my fault?
An excess is the set amount that you will have to pay should you need to make a claim on your car insurance policy. If you choose not to make a claim on your insurance policy but a third party does and you were at fault, and your insurance provider pays out then you will have to pay an excess.
If you make a claim for damage to your vehicle, you will be required to pay the excess.
The only way your excess is either not collected or is refunded is if it is proven the accident was the other driver’s fault and your insurance provider can, therefore, recover the full cost from their other party’s insurance provider, the excess is refunded, so you don’t lose out.
Will the price of my car insurance premium increase after an accident?
Regardless of who was at fault or who was liable, making a car insurance claim will in most cases, unfortunately, affect the price of your car insurance and your premium may increase. That said a non-fault claim will not affect your premium as much as an at-fault claim will.