A guide to the car insurance claims process
The claims process can be daunting , especially if you’ve never claimed before. But while a claim can affect whether or not you see the very cheapest car insurance quotes available, it’s a safety net designed to minimise your financial losses. So, while you should still think carefully before you claim, policies are there to give you the help you need, when you need it. Here, comparison site mustard.co.uk shares how the car insurance claims process works.
Do I need to tell my insurer about an accident?
Yes, if you’re involved in a car accident, you should let your insurer know, regardless of whether you want to make a claim or not. If you decide not to make a claim, just make it clear you’re telling them ‘for information only’.
If you don’t tell your insurer you risk invalidating your policy. It also means your insurer can cancel your car insurance which can make it harder to find cover in the future.
How do I make a car insurance claim?
If you want to make a claim, you should do so as soon as you can. While there’s no strict limit on when you should tell your insurer, most ask that you make a claim within a ‘reasonable’ amount of time.
If your insurer has any particular claims procedures, these should be clearly set out in your policy documents. Otherwise, it’s usually simply a matter of calling them and letting them know you want to make a claim. To make the process as smooth as possible, it’s good to have the following information to hand:
- Your policy details (including car registration).
- Details of anyone else involved in the accident as well as their car registration number.
- When the accident happened (date, time, place).
- Crime reference number if the police were called to the scene.
Your insurer will usually ask you what happened so they can establish who’s at fault. If you were able to take photos or video footage of the accident scene, your insurer may also ask you for this as supporting evidence of what happened.
If you’re at fault, remember that you can only claim for your repairs if you have comprehensive insurance. Your third party cover only compensates other people for damage or injury you cause.
No matter who caused the accident, it’s always best to let your insurer handle any claims. If the other driver is at fault, your insurer should be able to recoup the cost of your repairs.
Remember not to have your car repaired until you’ve spoken to your insurer. A number of insurers have preferred garages so you might have to take your car to a specific workshop. Getting your car fixed without discussing it with your insurer could mean they refuse to pay out any compensation at all.
What happens if I’m hit by an uninsured driver?
If you’re hit by an uninsured driver, you have two options. If you’re covered by comprehensive insurance, you can make a claim on your own policy.
If not, you can take your claim to the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB). You can also ask for their help if the other driver leaves the scene of the accident.
What happens if my car is a write-off?
If it’s not cost effective to repair your car, your insurer may declare it a write-off. You can choose to buy your car back if it’s still repairable but you should let your insurer know as soon as possible.
Will making a claim affect my premiums at renewal?
Yes, making a claim will affect your premium at renewal and the cost of your policy is likely to increase, regardless of who caused the accident. However, how much your policy increases by, will depend on whether the accident is classed as a fault or non-fault claim.
If the accident is considered your fault (an at fault claim) then your policy is likely to increase considerably compared to if it was the other driver’s fault (a non-fault claim).
It might not seem fair that your premium is affected regardless of where fault lies, but from an insurer’s perspective, claiming once increases the probability of you claiming again.
Should I make a claim on my car insurance?
It’s entirely up to you but you should always weigh up the cost of claiming compared to just paying for repairs yourself and the impact it might have on your no claims bonus.
For example, if the cost of damage is only a fraction of your excess, it might not be worth making a claim. But if repairs cost a lot more, your insurance is there to help you cover those costs.
To search for car insurance at prices that suit your budget, head over to mustard.co.uk where you can compare quotes from a host of leading UK insurers.