Car Insurance Claims
Information for Car Owners on the process of making an insurance claim from the company who insures your car
Inform the insurance company as soon as you can after the damage to your car has occurred. It is sometimes a good idea to write the details of the event as soon as you can and then use that as a reference to make the written insurance claim. Be consistent and remember, it will be awkward if you want to change your story later on. Keep safe all documents that are relevant to the claim, and make sure the staff of the insurance company can get in touch with you when necessary.
To make a claim you don't have to wait until office hours as most car insurance companies have 24-hour help lines. When you do make a claim you should expect to be sent an accident report form, however, some insurance companies are happy to take all of the details over the telephone. It is important that you take the opportunity to ask the insurer exactly what they require you to do and what evidence they will be expecting to support your claim.
Make sure you keep all receipts and that you photocopy any correspondence that is associated with your claim. Your insurance company will be deal with your claim as swiftly and smoothly as possible if you provide the information your insurer requires.
Don't take your car in for repairs and hope it will be paid for. Your insurance company will most likely recommend to you a garage, and you should consider taking your car there. The whole claims procedure will be much quicker and simpler if you follow your insurer's recommendations fully, and they can deal with the car repairer directly. Your insurance company may also provide a courtesy car while your vehicle is being repaired, subject to your level of cover. At the very least your insurer needs to approve an estimate from a car repairer they didn't recommend before they start working on it.
Your company need to agree to pay your car repair costs so until then any repair costs are your responsibility. You should get concrete conformation about the state of your insurance claim before proceeding with your car repairs. Remember that you will be required to pay the agreed level of excess even if your insurer will meet the repair costs, and this payment will normally be made straight to the garage who repairs your car.
What if the insurance claim is rejected?
There are circumstances where you may in fact have the legal right to be reimbursed for your loss even though the insurance company refused to pay the claim. Although you can sometimes make this judgement yourself, it is sometimes a good idea to get legal advice.
Check the policy
If the insurance claim is rejected, ask your company to identify specifically the clause of the contract on which they rely. If you do not have a current policy make sure they supply one.
Is it worth claiming?
Many types of contracts will have an excess. This is common in a car insurance contract, or similarly you may lose part of the no claims bonus. Some companies now reward ‘rating one’ car drivers with a lifetime rating one guarantee. At times you will have to decide whether the amount of the insurance claim is worth the long term loss that results from the effect on rating or no claims bonuses, especially after taking into account the amount of the excess.
Excess must be paid no matter what damage occurs to your car, or for whatever reason the claim is made. You have to pay it because you have entered in to a legal contract where you have agreed to pay the initial amount of any insurance claim. If you were not at fault though, you can claim it back from the other party’s company.