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Car accident claims – How to make a car insurance claim

Knowing what to do after an accident will help the claims process go as smoothly as possible – find out what happens if you need to make a car insurance claim

If you’re involved in a car accident, it’s vital that you tell your insurer about it as soon as you can so not to invalidate your cover.

Our guide explains what to do in the event you need to make a claim and how to prepare appropriately to ensure you get the most out of your insurance policy.

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When you take out car insurance, insurers set out time periods in which you must contact them after an accident. Check your car insurance policy for the details – time periods can vary from two days to two weeks after the incident.

Making a car insurance claim

After an accident or a theft or fire, depending on how much cover you have, it’s important to be prepared so that you make the car insurance claim process easier.

If you were involved in an accident with another driver’s car, take down the following details and be prepared to reciprocate:

  • The registration number of their car
  • Name and address of the other driver
  • Phone number of the other drivers
  • Car insurance details of the other driver

Regardless of the nature of the claim you need to be making, take some photos immediately after the incident.

This can help you remember the events a bit better if the insurance company needs to get back to you weeks later. More importantly, however, it can verify your statement and confirm the details of your claim.

If your car was stolen or the other driver involved in an accident with your car is not insured, you will want to contact the police to report the incident before you speak to your insurer about making a claim.

What to tell your insurer

If the accident involved another car you’ll need to provide your insurer with the following details:

  • The vehicle registration number of the other car
  • Name and address of the other driver
  • Phone number of the other driver
  • Car insurance details of the other driver

If the other driver is uninsured, report the accident to the police as it’s required by law for all motorists to have insurance. You’ll also need to inform your insurer who should be able to help you with the next steps of making a claim.

You should also tell your insurer the time and date of the accident, the weather conditions at the time, and how the accident happened.

How to make a car insurance claim

If you have a minor accident that’s below the cost of your excess, the insurance company will expect you to resolve it yourself

If you took photos, then these will also come in handy to give them a clearer idea of what happened.

Car accident claims

Once you’ve contacted your insurer you’ll usually be sent a form to complete – try to give your insurer as much information as possible and provide all relevant documents when making a car accident insurance claim.

Follow our car insurance claim checklist to help you make a successful claim:

  • Unless you’re certain you were at fault, don’t admit liability at the scene of an accident
  • Make sure to exchange personal details with the other driver, including your name and address, phone number, car registration number, and make and model of the car
  • Note the time, date and location of the accident and make a drawing of the accident if possible and include any photos you may have taken at the scene
  • Complete all details on the claim form and provide extra details if required
  • Provide the contact details of any witnesses to the accident
  • Get a crime number from the police if the car insurance claim is as a result of a theft or vandalism, or you believe the accident was unlawful – such as suspected speeding or drunk driving or if the other driver is not insured

Notify your insurer even if it’s only a minor accident – failure to do this could invalidate your car insurance.

Weather damage car insurance claims

In the event that your car has been damaged in severe weather conditions, be sure to take the appropriate steps depending on your circumstances.

Cars may face minor damage in stormy weather but if you think serious damage has been caused then contact your insurer as soon as possible – many providers will have their own 24 hour emergency helpline.

Most comprehensive car insurance policies will cover severe weather damage, including storms and floods, but it’s likely the claim will impact any no claims discounts you have for the following year.

If there are any repairs that you need to arrange immediately then take photos first and keep the receipts so you can hand them to your insurance company later.

Car insurance claims – what happens next?

If other people were involved in the accident, your insurer will contact the insurance companies of the other people to resolve the claims.

Some insurers only agree to pay for car repairs carried out by their own approved mechanics – wait for your insurer to contact you with the garage details before rushing to have your car fixed as you could end up paying for the repairs yourself.

You may not have to pay any excess if it can be proved that the accident was not your fault and your insurance company can recover the money from the other driver’s insurance.

However, that does not mean the cost of car insurance will go down. The fact that you were involved in an accident is likely to negate your no-claims discount and could give cause to your insurer to raise your premiums.

If you caused the accident then you will almost certainly have to pay the excess and, as a result, your car insurance premiums is likely to increase in the future.

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