Car insurance may be a legal requirement, but nobody wants to ever have to use it. Not only does it mean you will have been involved in an incident, whether it was your fault or not, it also means it could affect your premium when it comes to renewing your policy.
Whenever you are in a car accident or your car is criminally damaged your insurers should always be informed, whether you make a claim or not. A claim can be processed no matter what policy you have, whether it’s third party only, third party, fire and theft or fully comprehensive.
If the accident is deemed to be your fault, a third party only policy provides cover for the expenses of the other drivers and passengers only. Any of your own damages must be paid for by yourself. You can add extra cover for non-accident claims, for example, accidental damage and theft of your vehicle with a third party, fire and theft policy. However, if the collision isn’t your fault, it will be down to other driver’s insurer to cover your loss.
Comprehensive cover allows you to make a claim if you have been in an accident even if it was your fault. The insurer will cover the expenses of the other driver’s vehicle repairs and compensation for any injuries they sustained, as well as property damage and any expenses for your own vehicle and injuries.
A claim can also be made if you are hit by an uninsured driver. Anyone with comprehensive cover that collides with a driver who failed to take out car insurance can make a claim with their own insurer. The no-claims bonus may be reduced and voluntary excess will still have to be paid, but you should receive help from the insurance company. Those with other car insurance policies can also make a claim from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau for any personal injuries, but their excess can be as high as £300.
The insurance company should be contacted as soon as possible after the incident. This doesn’t necessarily mean at the scene of the accident, but some insurers do cap a time limit so it is advisable to call within 24 hours.
Each insurer will have a different procedure to follow when making a claim. But, on most occasions, the procedure would start with a phone call to inform the insurer of what happened. A claim form will then be sent to you, in which you would need to include any photos and other evidence to support your case. It may take a while before you hear back again, so be patient.
If your insurer insists on visiting the car to inspect the damage, don’t get it fixed beforehand or you may be refused a pay out. Insurance companies will often request the car to be repaired at an approved local garage. If you do not abide by this, then they may refuse to pay out. Some insurers may even provide a courtesy car while your car is being fixed.
If your car has been written off you could be provided with a pay out that is equal to the value of the car before it was damaged or stolen.
One last note, make sure you tell the whole truth to your insurer. If you are found to have misled them, you could be charged with insurance fraud.