How to make a claim on your car insurance

Do you know how to claim on your car insurance in the event of an accident? How the claims procedure works? and what to say to your insurer!

1. What should I do if I’m involved in a car accident?

For more information see What to do immediately after an accident.

2. When should I contact my insurer?

If you have been involved in a car accident or had your car stolen or vandalised, you are likely to be stressed and angry.

Best wait and talk to the insurer when you are calm and can clearly explain what has happened.

Be ready for the talk with your insurer:

  • Did you take detailed notes at the scene of the accident? Taking notes will assist you when you describe the accident to your insurer.
  • Notes will also help you keep your account of the accident consistent and avoid the possibility of the insurer questioning the validity of the claim.
  • And, will assist the insurer with the claim process, helping you get paid quicker.

When making the claim, you need, to be honest, and disciplined to see it through to your satisfaction.

Your insurer will require you complete a claim form and provide any supporting evidence including photos you may have taken at the scene of the accident.

If your policy includes the use of a courtesy car now is the time to make arrangements for this.

Keep a record of all your dealings (letters, documents, phone calls, etc.) with the insurer, police, and any other involved parties.

3. Do I have to claim on my insurance?

No. You decide if you claim on your policy!

But you do have to inform your insurer you have been in an accident, letting them know should mean they don’t settle with the other party’s insurer without your knowledge.

Your insurance company will have a set time span for reporting an accident so make sure you inform them on time, even if you are going to pay the cost of repairs yourself.

4. Should I claim on insurance when damage to the car is minor?

If the repairs needed on the car are minor, it might not be worth making a claim because doing so could inflate the cost of your premium the following year, Consider:

  • For instance, the Excess on your policy? If you put in a claim for £500 and the excess is £300 the insurer will pay out only £200!
  • And when you make the claim; losing some or all of your No claims bonus is likely unless you have NCB protection!

You could, in the long run, be worse of by claiming on your insurance.

5. How is the damage to the car accessed?

Depending on the amount of damage to the car the insurer will send out a Claims Assessor to check the vehicle and estimate the repair costs.

Your insurer will then arrange the car to go to an approved garage for repairs.

Don’t make the mistake of taking your car to a garage not approved because the insurer may not reimburse the costs.

6. What happens if my car is written off?

Insurers will often write off the car when the repair costs are too expensive compared to the value of the car.

In these circumstances, the insurer will pay out a sum equal to the car’s value before the accident. However, this will probably be less than the amount you paid for the car.

Remember the Excess – the part of a claim that you pay will still have to come off the insurer’s valuation.

Don’t accept the first offer without asking for a review. Providing examples of similar cars on sale at higher prices will improve your chance of getting an increased offer.

If you are not satisfied with the insurer’s valuation, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

7. What if the other driver is uninsured?

Most insurance policies include for you “being hit by an uninsured driver.” (You won’t have to pay the Excess and your NCB will remain unaffected.

But you will be required to satisfy a few conditions to be eligible. These can include:

  • You are to provide details of the other vehicle such as registration number, make, and model.
  • You are handing over information of any witness and any details you have on the driver.
  • Your insurer has to establish you were not at fault for the accident.

8. What if my car gets stolen?

Call the police

Tell the police and your insurer immediately if your car is stolen. You can also apply to DVLA for a vehicle tax refund.

Report the crime to the police by dialing 101.

Have the following details ready:

  • Registration number.
  • Make.
  • Model.
  • Colour.

The police will give you a “Crime Reference Number” you’ll need this when you inform your insurer of the theft.

Call your insurer
Call your insurer with the crime reference number and they will discuss with you how to proceed and if necessary to make a claim.

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