Making a successful claim on your car insurance

by Ryan on May 2, 2012

Car damage - insurance claim

It’s a fact of life that with millions of motorists taking to the road each year some will be involved in an accident.

Car insurance provides some peace of mind in this situation, however there are a few simple steps that people can follow to make sure any claim they make is successful and is awarded with the least amount of hassle.

I don’t think I’ve posted about it here but our car was broken into about 9 months ago and our navigation system was stolen.  The crook used an old rail road spike to bust the window while I was photographing the barbecue festival. The ribs were good, the smashed car was not.

I’ve learned that choosing the right car insurance provider is one of the first steps towards making life easier when a claim has to be made. A reputable insurer may not always be the cheapest, but it is important for a driver to find a policy that fits their needs.

When taking out the initial policy it’s essential that all information provided is as detailed and accurate as possible; if it isn’t then any policy could be void.

It’s also important to update car insurance providers to any change in circumstances which may affect the cover as soon as possible, which is relatively quick and easy if drivers have a policy they can track online.

As the Association of British Insurers explains: “Holding back something that is relevant will be a false economy if it means your claim is later turned down. If in doubt, always tell your insurer.”

car-broken-into-damage

The most important thing for drivers to do following any accident or vandalism is to record as much detail as possible, even if at first it appears that no damage was done to either vehicle. In the event of a serious incident, the police should be called as they will be able to deal with any possible legal issues further down the line.

Essential information includes the name, contact details and insurance information of the person involved in the accident, the details of any witnesses, and the time, date and location of the incident, including any factors such as poor weather conditions.

If possible, photographs of the scene may help, particularly if there is any dispute surrounding the claim; even poor quality images taken on a mobile phone could potentially help.

The more information provided, the easier it will be for the car insurance provider to establish liability, and if necessary claim off the other drivers’ insurance – protecting the no claims discount of the motorist who was not at fault.

Neither driver should admit liability at this point as it may affect proceedings later down the line.

Once the initial aftermath of the accident has been dealt with, motorists should inform their provider of the accident as soon as possible, even if they don’t intend to make a claim. If they believe any unlawful activity contributed to the incident, for example drink driving, the police should also be told.

Those making a claim following theft or damage to their vehicle must also have a crime number in order to make their claim.

In the event that an accident involves an uninsured driver, there are options available. Comprehensive insurance is likely to cover a driver for any repairs which need to be made; although it is unlikely motorists will be able to claim any additional costs.

An alternative is to contact the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, which has funds to help those make claims after being involved in an accident with an uninsured or untraceable driver.

In some cases, where only minimal damage has been done, motorists might question whether it is worth making a claim. This generally depends on how the cost of repairs compares to the size of their excess, and also how much a claim would push up their car insurance premium.

When getting a quote for the work, take the vehicle to a garage which is approved by the insurer, as drivers can be assured it offers a quality service and the provider is unlikely to dispute the cost of repairs. Don’t pay for any work before the insurance provider has confirmed they will cover it.

If drivers do decide to make a claim, they should keep a record of all correspondence with their car insurance provider while it is being processed. This way if the claim is rejected, drivers can discuss the reasons with their insurer and find a resolution to the problem.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

John May 31, 2012 at 2:55 pm

You have some great advice here. I agree with you that picking the best car insurance company in the first place is the best way to protect yourself. Keeping track of everything that happens in a claim is important too. Thank you for your post!

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